There has been a significant spike in scammers posing to be utility company personnel in recent months, as complaints have also increased. Posers are making off big-time, with tens of thousands of dollars stolen from unsuspecting victims.
According to the Utilities United Against Scams, more than 15,000 people in the U.S. have been successfully scammed so far this year. The median loss per utility company scam is $500, according to the Better Business Bureau Council.
The Better Business Bureau suggest several ways to spot a utility company scam to prevent losing money to scammers:
1. Never pay over the phone in response to a call, especially if you're threatened.
2. Utility companies will never accept giftcards, pre-paid debit cards or wire transfer for payment of a bill. If the caller demands this, it is likely a scam.
3. Don't trust the caller ID. (More sophisticated scammers can "spoof" the caller ID to make it appear that your electric company is calling.)
If you suspect you've been the victim of a scam, you are encouraged to file a complaint with the FCC, or Better Business Bureau.