Scams are on the rise and it’s no surprise that utility companies are not exempt from imposters posing as employees by phone, email, and even in person. Scams in utilities have become so widespread that there’s even an entire website dedicated to them. Known as Utilities United Against Scams, the site gives details on how to prevent falling victim to a utility scam.
Companies, including Florida Power & Light and Southern Company, are participants in the site’s awareness efforts, which provides a forum for utilities to share data and best practices, in addition to working together to implement initiatives to inform and protect customers.
The site provides resources and social media sections with the latest information on how to avoid falling victim to a scam, including a Consumer’s Guide to Imposter Utility Scams, published by Edison Electric Institute (EEI). Keep yourself educated and remember the three scam types:
1. By Phone – if someone calls you threatening to disconnect your service immediately if they don’t receive payment, hang up and contact your local utility company to inform them of the call.
2. By Email – Always delete suspicious emails and do not click on any links. If you receive an email that looks like a bill but is higher than normal, is requesting personal information, or even asks you to purchase prepaid debit cards to pay off your balance, it is most likely a scam.
3. In Person – If someone shows up at your door unexpectedly dressed as a utility worker or contractor, ask them to show identification and look for your utility company’s logo on their clothing. Normally, a utility company will inform you before performing any work on your property. If you receive a visit from someone claiming to be a utility employee, contact your utility provider to determine if the visit is legitimate.