It’s no secret that consumers with a water, gas or electricity connection have long been targets for utility scams, but fraudsters have changed their tactics since the COVID-19 pandemic. As consumers became more reliant on technology for work, school and commerce, scammers noted these shifts and adapted their tactics to this changed environment.
While scam artists may come to your door posing as power company workers, in today’s more connected world, attempts are more likely to come through an electronic device, via email, phone or text.
Common Types of Scams
Scammers may claim you are overdue on your electric bill and threaten to disconnect your service if you don’t pay immediately. They want to scare you into immediate payment, so you don’t have time to think clearly.
If this happens over the phone, simply hang up. If you’re concerned about your bill, call us at 800-933-7362. Do not redial the number that called you. If the scam is by email or text, delete it before taking any action. If you’re unsure, you can always contact us at our office or use SmartHub to check the status of your account.
Some scammers may falsely claim you have been overcharged on your bill and say they want to give a refund. It sounds easy. All you have to do is click or press a button to initiate the process, and you will be prompted to provide banking or other personal information. But instead of money going into your bank account, the scammers can drain your account and use personal information such as a Social Security number for identity theft.
If this “refund” scam happens over the phone, just hang up and block the phone number to prevent future robocalls. If this scam attempt occurs via email or by text, do not click any links. Instead, delete it, and if possible, block the sender. If you do overpay on your energy bill, Noble REMC will automatically apply the credit to your next billing cycle. As always, when in doubt, contact us.
Defending Against Scams
Be wary of call or texts from unknown numbers. Be suspicious of an unknown person claiming to be a utility worker who requests banking or other personal information.
Never let anyone into your home that you don’t know unless you have a scheduled appointment or reported a problem. Noble REMC employees wear logoed uniforms, carry ID badges and will identify themselves when they visit.
We want to help protect our community against utility scams, and you can help create the first line of defense. Please report any potential scams to us so we can spread the word to prevent others in the community from falling victim.