The utility shutoff scam is when someone calls claiming to be from your gas, water or electric company. They imply your service will be cut off if you do not pay them immediately via money wire, gift cards, reloadable cards, cryptocurrency or through Western Union or similar company. Real utility companies will NEVER do this, but this scam relies on fear based tactics so you pay before you can confirm.
How to Protect Yourself
If you should receive a call or text from your utility company saying you need to remit immediate payment hang up. Call the company using the number on your bill or on the company’s website. Do not use the call-back number provided by the caller, they are usually fake.
If your bill says you owe payment, remit payment as you normally would
NEVER pay via money wire, reloadable card, gift card or cryptocurrency to anyone demanding immediate action. This money is not traceable and your utility company would never require it.
Report Utility Scams
If you got a call from, or were contacted by, a fake utility company:
- report the scam to your utility company online or by calling a number you know is real
- report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
- report it to your state attorney general.
And be sure to let other people know about this scam. Then they can avoid it, too.