BBB: Utility Scams - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

BBB: Utility Scams

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Utility companies are warning their customers about a new con. Scammers are calling, emailing and sending letters to residents and impersonating utility staff, claiming to be collecting on late bills.

The message appears to be from a representative from your local electric, water or gas company. They tell you that you are late on your bill and you need to pay immediately, or your utilities will terminated.

However, instead of accepting payment by credit card or check, the caller wants you to pay by prepaid debit card. The scammer instructs you to obtain a prepaid debit card and call them back.Prepaid debit cards are becoming an increasingly popular method of payment for scammers. The cards are difficult to trace, and you do not need photo identification to collect or spend the money. Treat a prepaid debit card like cash and remember that transactions cannot be reversed.

The BBB offers the following warnings: 
· If a caller specifically asks you to pay by prepaid debit card, this is a red flag. Your utility company will accept a check or credit card.
· If you feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill. This will ensure you are speaking to a real representative.
· Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or reported a problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification.