Older Americans are at a much higher risk for imposter fraud scams than most people. If you’re worried about utility scams, you’re in good company. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the most common types of utility imposter scams, how to spot them, and how to respond to them. If you think you’re being targeted by a utility scam, contact your utility company and let them know.
One of the most common forms of utility imposter fraud is in the form of a fraudster seeking your money by telling you that you haven’t paid your utility bill. The scammer will pretend to be your utility company and will threaten you with cutting off your power or water unless you wire them an amount of money to cover your outstanding bill. However, your utility company will never contact you and demand you wire them money: they will mail you your bill, or it will be available to view online.
On the flip side, another type of scam involves the scammer telling you that you’ve overpaid for your utility bill. They’ll then offer to issue you a refund for the difference, claiming they need only your banking info or credit card info to issue you the refund. Your utility company won’t contact you this way: if you somehow overpaid, they wouldn’t need to ask you for your information, they’d more likely apply the overpayment to your next bill.
A scary version of this type of scam is when strange men show up at your door claiming to be utility workers and offer to do a free audit. Other times they’ll claim that they need to inspect your equipment. In either case, turn away any people you haven’t scheduled to come to your house. Don’t be afraid to call the utility company to ask if they really sent people out, or even call the police on suspicious people sneaking around your property.