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Every day, millions of people who have lost their jobs are making difficult choices about how to pay their bills. As the Coronavirus continues to spread, scammers are taking advantage of people’s heightened economic anxiety. Their latest ploy is posing as representatives from utility companies to dupe people out of their cash and personal information by convincing them their utilities will be shut off if they don’t pay. 

If you get a call from someone claiming to be your utility company, here are some things you can do:

  • Thank the caller for the information. Then firmly tell them you will contact the utility company directly using the number on your bill or on the company’s website.
  • Even if the caller insists you have a past due bill or your services will be shut off, never give banking information over the phone unless you place the call to a number you know is legitimate.
  • Utility companies don’t demand banking information by email or phone. And they won’t force you to pay by phone as your only option.
  • If the caller demands payment by gift card, cash reload card, wiring money or cryptocurrency, it is a scam. Legitimate companies don’t demand payment by gift cards (like iTunes or Amazon), cash reload cards (like MoneyPak, Vanilla, or Reloadit), or cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin).
  • Tell your friends and loved ones about the scam so they can protect themselves. If you got this scam call, others in your community probably did to. We know when people hear about scams, they’re much more likely to avoid them.                                                                      

Tell the FTC. Your reports help the FTC and our law enforcement partners stop scammers.

Find out more about how you can protect yourselfand your businessfrom scams.

11 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Kimjones4661
July 15, 2020
I received one of these calls yesterday, and when I started questioning the person on the phone, they hung up.
Mfeylong
July 15, 2020
Unfortunately this scam was used on my dad. Fortunately I was the one who answered the phone and knew right away it wasn't a legitimate call from our electric company. When you are up to date with your account don't question but stand firm and let them know you will phoning the electric company personally. Any big Corporate business that furnishes a service usually is unable to take payments other than via automated systems. Most elderly don't want to get help with an issue such as this but every age range should know that this can happen to Anyone and before taking any monetary action seek the advice of the supposed company calling directly and others you trust.
don
July 15, 2020
Thank you for all the great info!!
PMDon't use yo…
July 15, 2020
I received many call for people saying, they are from Nevada Power and they go to cut my service if I don't pay to them. I don't answer the phone my answer machine do for me. When I want to make sour, I look the phone number on the statement or check on the internet for the phone number. Then I call to the place.
dcplesi228155
July 16, 2020
I got a call from someone who stated they were from Consumers Energy and I needed to call back with my account number. I let it go to the answering machine and then started checking. The number's area code was Florida and I live in Michigan. I checked the web site and there was an 800 number. It also helped that I live in a condo and the association pays the gas bill with association dues. No one has to answer, let it go to voice mail, then start checking.
shoeman
July 16, 2020
I had one call our office a while back threatening to cut off our power if I didn't pay with a gift card within 30 minutes. I knew it was a scam, particularly since they were going to cut it off at our old address that we had moved from 3 years prior. So I decided to try and keep him on the phone as long as possible to keep him from calling others. After about 20 minutes, he was mad so I told him I knew he was a scammer and the next sound was "click"
Summer
July 16, 2020
I received a fake Puget Sound Energy telephone call today 7/16 stating I was 90 days past due on my power bill and an electrician was on their way to turn our power off within 30 minutes and I needed to make a payment today or else my power would be shut off. I hung up and called PSE directly and PSE told me this was a scam and to file a consumer complaint.
John Skiba
July 26, 2020
I received a call and it was a recorded message stating about a past due for the months of April and May. "LOL!" I live in a complex where the utilities are paid by the complex owner. "LOL!" Also, it stated "to speak with a representative please press 1. When I did press 1 the call got disconnected. "SCAM!!!!!" "LOL!"
anon
October 21, 2020
Just received back to back calls claiming my electric and gas owed ME money refund both Numbers 215-438-3288 then 215-842-3041
MzChop
February 10, 2021
I am so tired of these people calling me multiple times a day this morning 2/10/21 I have received 10 calls starting at 10:29 calling from different numbers but it’s the same company I have been on hold with them and get a call in from the Sam company so when I block one number they call from another number this is my cell number that has been on the do not call list 2014, when someone comes to the phone you ask to be removed from their list they hang up and call right back from another number saddest part is my utilities are in my husbands name not mine I need to know how to stop these calls thanks
Amore
February 22, 2021
I received a phone call today from 305 number which is in my area and it was a Robo call saying that my electric would be turned off in 30 to 45 minutes press one if you want to speak to a representative so I pressed one and a gentleman came on the phone and he said yes and I told him well I got a call About my electric gonna be turned off and he said can I have your address and I said what company is this and he hung up on me. So I tried to call this number back and it was busy and within 20 minutes the number is not a working number +1 (305) 612-4393