With falling temperatures and winter on the way, it is important to be extra vigilant for scammers who prey on utility customers. That's why FirstEnergy and dozens of other utilities are banding together for Utility Scam Awareness Week, Nov. 15-19, with Nov. 17 featured as Utility Scam Awareness Day.
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How Utility Scammers Work
- Scammers often use Caller ID spoofing software to misrepresent the source of a phone call to further mislead and confuse their targets. Call-back numbers provided by these criminals often use greetings and hold messages that mimic legitimate businesses.
- Scammer will claim their phone number is different from the number listed on the utility bill because they are working from home.
- Scammers use fraudulent emails tor texts to portray themselves as utility representatives.
- Scammers will go door-to-door, claiming to be responding to reports that scammers are in the neighborhood, and invite customers to pay to avoid being scammed.
- The imposter aggressively tells the customer his or her account is past due and service will be disconnected if payment is not made immediately, often with a prepaid debit card or other non-refundable means of payment.
- The scammer instructs the customer to pay with cash or prepaid debit card to pay for the cost of a new meter or meter upgrade.
- The scammer insists a recent payment encountered a system glitch or was not received, asking the customer to pay using a prepaid debit card or by providing personal account information.
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