Beware: Scammers Posing as Utility Company Reps to Defraud Consumers

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning about scammers who are pretending to be utility company representatives in order to defraud people. These scammers use threats of service deactivation to trick their victims.

An alert issued on June 20 warns about utility scams where criminals pretend to be representatives from water, electric, and gas companies. They use threats of service deactivation to pressure residents and business owners into immediate payment.
Usually, the scammers create a sense of urgency by insisting that customers must make a payment immediately or face the possibility of their vital utilities being disconnected. Scams tend to become more prevalent during specific periods throughout the year, as highlighted by the nonprofit organization.

According to the BBB website, utility scams can occur throughout the year, but tend to increase during periods of extreme cold or heat when individuals are more likely to rely on their heating or air conditioning.

According to the BBB's alert, there have been cases where individuals posing as representatives visit homes, wearing uniforms that closely resemble the real ones. They falsely claim that the electric meter is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced immediately.

According to the website, scammers attempt to gain access to homes under the pretense of performing repairs or energy audits. However, their true intention is to steal valuables and obtain personally identifiable information that may be easily visible. Another tactic is to offer energy discounts.

In certain cases, criminals may try to access the homeowner's electricity account information and switch the service to another utility provider without consent. This practice, known as "slamming," is illegal.

The BBB report described an incident where a woman impersonated a representative from a certain company and issued a warning that our power would be disconnected within 45 minutes. She instructed us to contact the billing department. My husband called the number and they requested payment information. He had doubts and decided to contact [company name redacted]. They confirmed his suspicions and informed him that it was indeed a scam.

If you have fallen victim to a utility scam, it is important to take action and report the incident to the necessary authorities. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends contacting the utility company, the state attorney general, and submitting a report through

If an individual has already made payments to the scammer using a debit or credit card, they can reach out to the card-issuing company, inform them about the fraudulent charge, and ask for a payment reversal, as advised by the FTC.
To reverse a bank transfer, wire transfer, or money transfer, you can follow a similar process. Just reach out to the appropriate firm and request a reversal of the transaction.

To ensure a smooth process, customers who paid with cash should contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455 to request package interception.

The FTC warns that payments made through cryptocurrency are irreversible.

After making a payment with cryptocurrency, the only way to receive a refund is if the recipient willingly returns the funds. However, it would be advisable to reach out to the company you utilized to transfer the funds and inform them about the unauthorized nature of the transaction. Request that they consider reversing the transaction, if it is feasible.

Scammers have various methods to carry out the utility scam, including in-person, through text messages, or over the phone. The BBB issued a warning regarding a certain payment method that should raise concerns. They emphasized the importance of being cautious if a caller requests payment through a prepaid debit card, gift card, wire transfer, or a digital wallet app. It was mentioned that reputable utility companies usually offer the option to pay by check or credit card.

It is concerning if the supposed utility representative insists on immediate payments, often within a short timeframe, and resorts to intimidation tactics to obtain personal and banking details.

In March, Monica Martinez, executive director of Utilities United Against Scams, raised awareness about a concerning new scam trend that is specifically targeting customers.
"There is a new scam going around where fake websites, designed to look exactly like utility payment pages, are being promoted on search engines. The intention is to deceive customers into clicking on these pages and making a payment," she explained.

In April, the FTC filed charges against bill payment company Doxo for their alleged actions of impersonating billers, including utility companies, and deceiving consumers. These actions resulted in the collection of millions of dollars in unnecessary fees.


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