(FinancialHealth.net) – It’s the hottest day of the year. The a/c is blasting a nice cool stream, a good book is waiting, and you’re totally grateful that you don’t have to go into that hot wall of heat outside.
Then, the phone rings. It’s someone claiming to be from the electric company, complaining that the last payment didn’t go through. They claim if a payment isn’t made right now, to them, the electric will be shut off within the hour.
This is one of the most popular utility scams because it can induce an immediate sense of panic, which prompts just about anyone to take care of the problem right away. But utility companies have to follow specific billing laws, so they won’t ever call to say “pay up or it’s power within the hour.” No matter what kind of claims they make – this is a scam.
Here’s how to handle it:
- Hang up the phone and contact the utility company directly with any concerns about a past due balance or missing payment.
- Never share banking information over the phone to an alleged utility provider unless you called them yourself.
- Be alert for similar scams or threats. Some of these scams involves threats to freeze bank accounts, repossess vehicles, turn off utilities or something else that could be life altering if done immediately. Contact the original creditor to verify the fact that the account is in good standing and get the nerves settled.
- Know that no authentic business is going to demand a payment over the phone. Instead, they offer as many payment options as possible because they know the more convenient they make it for the customer, the more likely they are to get a payment.
- If a caller demands payments through a prepaid card or money transfer service such as Western Union, hang up the phone. Many utility companies do not even accept these type of payments, and they would never insist you use them.
Technology leaves a lot of room for utility company scams, among other things. Be careful out there, and stay alert. We’ll help by keeping up on scams like these and how to avoid them.
~Here’s to Your Financial Health!
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