BBB gives tips to businesses who could be target of utility scam

BBB gives tips to businesses who could be target of utility scam
The BBB warns the drawbacks to buying gift cards following Toys R Us store closures. (Source BBB)

WICHITA COUNTY, Tx (RNN Texoma) - The Better Business Bureau is warning about a utility scam targeting area businesses.

Scammers are impersonating Oncor Electric Delivery representatives. These imposters are threatening business owners with deactivation of service unless they pay up immediately. The scammers are spoofing the actual number of Oncor Electric Delivery.

How the Utility Scam Works:

Utility company imposters will typically reach you with a telephone call or knock on your door claiming to be a representative from the local water, electric or gas company. In the most
common scenario, the scammer informs you that payment is overdue and the utility will be shut off if you don't pay up immediately.

Scammers use a variety of other tricks to prey on utility customers.

- A "representative" may appear at your door claiming that the electric meter is not working properly and must be immediately replaced -— at your expense; in which, the scammer may gain access to your home with the intent of stealing your valuables.

- Cons may also involve promises of energy discounts with the aim of taking your money, personal information or possibly the account details needed to switch you to another utility provider without your consent (an illegal practice known as "slamming").

Tips to spot this scam:

• Offers too good to be true

• Pressure for utility account information

• Prepaid debit cards and wire transfers are always red flag. If a caller specifically asks you to pay by prepaid debit card or wire transfer or iTunes gift cards this is a huge warning
sign. Your utility company will usually accept a check or credit card.

• Pressure to pay immediately. Scammers will press for immediate payment and may try to intimidate you into giving them your personal and banking information.

• Pressure to enter the premises

If you feel pressured for immediate action by a caller, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill. Never give your personal or banking information to an unverified or unsolicited caller. Never allow anyone into your home unless you have scheduled an appointment or reported a problem. Also, always ask utility employees for proper identification before letting them enter.

To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker online.

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