Fraudsters looking to trick people into giving up money usually find new ways to perpetuate scams, especially as the public starts to catch up to their tricks. One increasingly popular ripoff method is a utility bill scam. Although this seems very easily detectable, its frequency once prompted the Federal Trade Commission to issue a Consumer Alert to warn and protect the general public. To properly recognize and avoid utility bill scams, it is vital to first understand them and how they work.
A utility bill scam involves a fraudster who pretends to be a representative of a public utility company and uses this ruse to collect payment from a victim. In most cases, the scammer would threaten that you will lose access to power or other utilities if you do not pay immediately. Utility bill scammers use fear as a potent tool and are likely to insist that you will be cut off even if you have proof that your next payment is not due.
There are many different methods fraudsters may use to swindle you. The following are some of the most common:
Scammers use varying tactics to trick people into submitting important information or paying fake reconnection or repair fees. Although their methods constantly change, the following are a few things that may point to a utility bill scam.