Utility Scam Awareness Week Reminds to Be Wary of Phone Scams

It’s Utility Scam Awareness Week. Yes, that’s a thing. It’s a thing because unfortunately criminals prey upon vulnerable people and education is the best way to combat the scammers.

The observance is sponsored by “Utilities United Against Scams” which represents both U.S. and Canadian utilities and trade organizations. This is the time of year when scam calls rise, as the threat of utility shut-off in the colder months is more frightening.

Obvious red flags include requests for payment in the form of gift cards, prepaid debit cards, or Bitcoin. But even more subtle scare tactics should be suspected as fraudulent. MPSC Chair Dan Scripps said, “We want Michiganders to know that utility companies do not use coercive scare tactics over the phone to force customers to pay bills, and they won’t tell you your service will be shut off immediately without a payment. That kind of behavior is a dead giveaway that the caller is a scammer.”  

If utility users think they may have fallen victim to one of these scams, they should contact the police immediately. Scammers often target seniors, who should stay particularly vigilant. 

Reporting for WGRT – Jennie McClelland