Utility scams on the rise as summer temperatures soar

Experts say avoid scams by calling your utility company or viewing your account online
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 2:48 PM CDT
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InvestigateTV - The Federal Trade Commission received more than 2.8 million fraud reports from people last year and recently issued a scam alert warning of fraudsters pretending to be utility companies.

When it comes to utility scams, Colleen Tressler with the FTC said fraudsters don’t just call or text. Sometimes they’ll show up at your front door pretending to be a contractor or a worker ready to take your personal information.

“Leave them at the door, close the door. You call your utility and report it,” said Tressler.

Monica Horton with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warned consumers to be on guard. Utility scams tend to spike during extreme hot and cold months and this summer’s heat wave is no exception.

Consumer David Lee was recently targeted by scammers pretending to be his utility company, CenterPoint Energy.

Lee received a call telling him his electricity would be cut off because of non-payment. The caller-ID showed CenterPoint Energy.

Lee said he felt something was off since the call came on a holiday. He told the caller he would check his account and call them back. The caller disconnected.

Lee’s account was current when he checked it and his utility service was not interrupted.

According to the FTC and BBB, Lee did the right thing. If you are suspicious or concerned about a caller, always hang up and call the number listed on your bill or check your account online.

CenterPoint Energy sent a notice to customers about this scam and urged them to stay on high alert. They also have tips on their website on how to avoid being scammed by imposters.

If you receive a suspicious call or think you might have been contacted by an imposter, you can report it to the FTC or the BBB scam tracker.