Be Alert for “Coronavirus Utility Company Scams”

July 16, 2020
Source: Utility company calling? Don’t fall for it.
Type of News: Protection & Security

Every day, millions of individuals who have lost their jobs are finding it difficult to pay their bills. As the Coronavirus continues to spread, scammers are taking advantage of people’s heightened economic anxiety. The latest strategy circulating is where scammers are posing as representatives from utility companies to target people out of their cash and personal information by convincing them their utilities will be shut off if they do not pay.

If you get a call from someone claiming to be your utility company, here are some things you can do:

  • Thank the caller for the information. Then firmly tell them you will contact the utility company directly using the number on your bill or on the company’s website.
  • Even if the caller insists you have a past due bill or your services will be shut off, never give banking information over the phone unless you place the call to a number you know is legitimate.
  • Utility companies do not demand banking information by email or phone, and they will not force you to pay by phone as your only option.
  • If the caller demands payment by gift card, cash reload card, wiring money or cryptocurrency, it is a scam. Legitimate companies do not demand payment by gift cards (like iTunes or Amazon), cash reload cards (like MoneyPak, Vanilla, or Reloadit), or cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin).
  • Tell your friends and loved ones about the scam so they can protect themselves. If you have received this scam call, others in your community probably did too.

If you are interested in learning more about protecting yourself from scams, speak with a Community Resource Specialist: (408) 350-3200, option 1.

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