UTILITY customers have been warned that scammers are exploiting caller ID technology to try to trick people into handing over their money.
Scammers fake their numbers so that they appear on phone screens as the legitimate number of local utility companies.
They then claim the victim is behind on their bill and threaten to cut off their service if they don’t send money — often in the form of gift cards or money transfer through an app, USA Today reports.
Consumers across the country have reported receiving threatening phone calls.
And in many cases, victims have lost hundreds or even thousands of dollars after being told to send payments through cash apps like Zelle or gift cards.
Businesses and law enforcement are now sending the message that when it comes to caller ID, you can never be too careful – even if the caller appears to know your name, address or other information. personal.
They also remind people that if you authorize a payment through Zelle, you may not be able to get your money back, even if it is a scam.
Zelle does not offer users protection if they have authorized payments, even though it is a scammer, USA Today reports. It should only be used to send money to close contacts that you know personally.
Luckily, there are things you can do to make sure you never fall victim to the scams of a fake bill.
First, a legitimate utility company will never ask for payment on a cash app or through gift cards. Payments will be made to them the same way you always make payments to your utility provider.
Legit utility providers will also never claim that you have very little time to pay before your electricity or water goes out.
Scammers will often try to scare you into believing that if you don’t pay, your service will be disabled in as little as 30 minutes.
If you receive a call from a utility company demanding payment, it is recommended that you find the legitimate number on the official website and then call back.
If you suspect Bill Pay Call is a scam, it’s always a good idea to check your mailed bill or online account to see if you’ve been notified of the non-payment.
The Federal Trade Commission has said you should never offer financial information over the phone unless it’s a number you know is real, even if the caller promises your services will be disconnected.
Customers are also encouraged to stop and challenge any suspicious callers.
Ask your contact to quote your account number or tell you how much you owe on your most recent bill, which you can check with your hard copy or online.
Most importantly, remember that utility companies will not ask for social security numbers or payment via gift cards or Zelle for overdue bills.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The US Sun team?