Threats to cut your power immediately without payment
Fuzzy details about your agreement with energy provider
Requests for money transfers or prepaid debit cards
Absence of branded clothing and materials
No proof of employment with energy company
Asks for payment via check in their name or cash
Who’s at risk for being scammed?
Older adults are often depicted as the typical scam victims, but the Better Business Bureau found that nearly 70% of those who were scammed are under the age of 45, and almost 80% held college degrees. Anyone can be vulnerable to being scammed; it’s not just the gullible or trusting. Successful fraudsters are usually experts at manipulation.
To avoid being taken advantage of, know the basic details about your energy bill—your energy provider, the type and length of your plan, and what services you pay for. Make sure your partner or spouse knows these basic details so they won’t fall victim to these schemes either. Fraudsters typically don’t have access to much of your personal information. They could have found your name, address, and phone number from public records or information available on your social media accounts or employer’s website.
If your landlord is responsible for paying for your energy, the energy company will know to bill them. Send any letters you receive for non-payment directly to your landlord or property manager. If you don’t have a direct, documented relationship with the local utility company or an energy provider, it’s highly unlikely you could owe them money. If you’re unsure of your responsibilities, call the customer service line featured prominently on the energy provider’s website. They’ll be able to confirm whether or not you’re accountable for energy payments.
Always verify your account status before paying
Ask for identification or proof of identification
Familiarize yourself with scam reports in the area
Protect Your Information
Never throw out documents like bills that contain your personal information or billing details. Shred or burn these documents when you’re done with them. Better yet—go paperless. If you do your billing on a shared or public computer, log out of your email and bank account when you’re done and never save any passwords in the web browser.
Check Your Account Status
Check your account status by logging on to our web portal, opening the app, or calling customer service directly. If your account is overdue, you’ll be able to clearly see what you owe, how much energy you have used, and what plan you’re enrolled in. Most energy providers send multiple notices if you miss payments or your account has an overdue balance, so be sure to check your home’s mailbox or your inbox for these alerts.
Verify Their Information
Make sure the company a caller or visitor represents actually has an online presence. Search the name online and be sure that the organization offers service in your area. You can also ask whomever you speak with for their employee number. Even if they don’t have one, they should still be able to prove they work for a legitimate company by showing you a badge, detailed printed materials, or by providing a permit.