U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

How to Spot and Avoid Utility Scammers

By Susan Forrester

Did you know that small businesses and consumers across the country are falling victim to a group of criminals that are impersonating utility representatives?

That’s why the Energy Institute is supporting Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) - a coalition of utility companies and trade associations that have joined together to safeguard customers.

These scammers are contacting business owners and consumers via telephone, mail, email, or door-to-door and demanding immediate payment or personal information.  They are also falsely threatening to disconnect or suspend utility service if immediate payment is not received.

UUAS and utility companies are working with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute scammers as well as raise awareness of these scams and educate customers.

Here’s how you can spot and avoid being scammed:

  • If you are contacted, hang up the phone or close the door, and call your utility’s customer service office.
  • Decline to pay any caller or visitor claiming to be a company representative using a prepaid card, a wire transfer, or similar forms of payment - especially those requiring an intermediary.
  • Ignore suspicious requests for personal information such as bank account numbers, user names and passwords, credit card numbers, or Social Security numbers.
  • Delete all emails that demand immediate payment, personal information or are from a company that is not your utility company.

Stopping scammers requires utilities, customers and the community to work together year-round.  Through collaborative efforts like the Utilities United Against Scams coalition, we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that customers are protected from these malicious scammers.

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