Whether by phone, e-mail or in-person communication, the structure is the same for most scams. The perpetrators target vulnerable populations, especially the elderly who are not aware of the recent tremendous increase in technology and in all types of scams, particularly by e-mail and electronic devices.
Generally, the scammer warns that the customer’s electric service will be disconnected if the customer fails to make an immediate payment.
All utility consumers need to be educated on how to recognize red flags and what to do. These are some of the signs a scam may be occurring:
- The supposed utility representative becomes angry and tells the customer his or her account is past due and service will be disconnected if a large payment is not made – usually within less than an hour.
But customers can protect themselves by understanding:
- Customers can make payments online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail, or in person.
- Customers with delinquent accounts receive an advance disconnection notification included with their regular monthly bill – never a single notification shortly before disconnection.
- If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, hang up and call the local police then your utility. Never dial the phone number the scammers provide.
If you suspect you or someone else has been the victim of fraud, or who feel threatened during contact with one of these scammers, immediately contact the Newberry County Sheriffs Office and then contact us.