ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Don’t Let Scam Utility Bill Calls Ruin Your Holidays
December 3, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – As the weather gets colder and the holidays approach, scam artists are using an age-old con to mislead Arkansans into believing their utility bills are unpaid. Scammers will call consumers using high pressure tactics and tell consumers that they must pay immediately over the phone, by money order, or bitcoin or their service will be turned off. This is absolutely false and a prime indicator of a scam.
“Arkansans should be skeptical of unsolicited calls in which the person is demanding immediate payment by phone and claiming that a water, electric or gas bill is late,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I urge Arkansans to hang up and reach out to the utility company directly, using the number on their last bill or the company’s website to determine the status of their bill.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to ensure payment is sent to the utility company safely, securely and timely:
- Contact the utility company directly by calling the listed number and verifying the amount owed.
- Drop off the payment at the utility office or an authorized payment location.
- Pay online on the utility company’s website with a credit card or call the company directly.
- Consider participating in an automated bank account draft system, if it is offered.
- Mail the payment to the company directly.
The scammer may also request that the recipient purchase gift cards or prepaid debit cards to pay off the amount owed. The scammer will ask for the code on the purchased card, which gives them complete access to money on the card. In most cases, once the prepaid card money is depleted, it cannot be recovered. Remember, utilities will not require you to pay by gift card or prepaid debit card – only scammers do that.
Arkansans should notify the company if they have been contacted by one of these scammers. If Arkansans have turned over money to the scammer, file a complaint with the Attorney General.