Scammers threaten to turn power off in winter

Scammers threaten to turn power off in winter

By Greg Collier

Just as Texas slowly starts a return to normal, the scammers there are pulling out all the stops while they still can. The latest scam to descend on Texas is not a new one, and it’s one that can be perpetrated in any state that has cold weather. Even though Spring may be less than a month away, scammers will try this trick as much as they can until then.

Residents of Austin, Texas have been reporting that they have been receiving calls from scammers posing as their local power company. The scammers threaten to have the power turned off in 30 minutes if the customer’s ‘bill’ isn’t paid right now. With stories of Texans receiving outlandish power bills after power was restored to the state, we can see how this could be such an effective scam. While the report we saw doesn’t state it, we imagine the scammers are probably asking for payment through gift cards or prepaid debit cards.

As usual, there are a few red flags that tip you off that this is a scam. First off, most utility companies won’t call you demanding a payment. Secondly, no legitimate business or agency is going to ask you for payment in gift cards. Scammers always try to get their victims to pay in some form of untraceable means and gift cards appear to be the most untraceable. Next, most utility companies will send you a notice in the mail if you are in danger of having your service disconnected, and they’ll give you plenty of notice and not just 30 minutes.

As we stated previously, this scam appears in just about every state. Scammers will even perpetrate the scam during heat waves as well by trying to pressure their victims into believing they’ll lose the cooling in their home during the warmer months.

If you receive one of these calls, just hang up. Don’t engage the scammer as they can use the smallest amounts of information they receive for possible future scams. If you want to be absolutely sure that the call was a scam, contact your local utility company, and they’ll be able to give you the current status of your account.