Don’t Fall for Calls about Fake Water, Electric or Gas Bills
January 23, 2019
Scammers are recycling an old con to scare Arkansans into turning over prepaid debit cards or wiring money to pay off an unpaid utility bill. The Arkansas Attorney General’s office has received over 100 reports since the first of the year of con artists posing as utility company employees threatening to shut off utility services due to an unpaid bill.
“Arkansans should be skeptical of unsolicited calls in which the person is demanding immediate payment over the phone claiming that a water, electric or gas bill is late,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie 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:
· Add the utility payment due date on a calendar when the bill is received.
· 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 scam involves Caller ID spoofing to make the name of the utility company display on the phone’s screen. Be cautious of unsolicited calls and consider hanging up and finding the company’s phone number from an independent source and calling them to confirm any outstanding balance.
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.
For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.