Unscrupulous individuals will do anything to steal your hard-earned money without any regard for their victim’s health, age, or financial security or lack thereof.
Every year we hear about several new scams sweeping the nation. Sometimes the thieves’ stories are so convincing that they get away with thousands of dollars before anyone knows what’s happening.
On Monday the UI notified a Realtor that the home she was selling had several months worth of unpaid electric bills and if it wasn’t paid immediately, they would remove the meter from the house.
The woman notified the out-of-state homeowner and he contacted the UI employee directly and explained that the bills are paid automatically every month.
The “UI” said the payment had not been received and the customer had to pay in excess of $900 in cash NOW. The owner said he would pay by credit card and was ready with the information, but the employee demanded cash only and directed him to use a bitcoin machine in a specific location.
This was even more of a hassle for the homeowner since he’s out-of-state. He asked the realtor to get the money from his elderly mother who’s in a nursing home and to please make the deposit for him.
The realtor didn’t like what was happening to her client and decided to help. As she was using the machine, a store clerk stopped her, asking, “What are you doing?”
As she explained, he quickly told her it was a scam.
She called the REAL UI which verified that this is true.
The UI shared this information on its website:
Someone calls you up and tells you that you’re behind on your bills. If you don’t pay up now, they’re going to shut off your electricity. They ask you to give them a credit card number, or preferably, the account and routing number for your bank account.
This scam has been around for years, but it works because it scares people into action before they can think twice.
Most utility companies will never call you on the phone in order to inform you that your power is being shut off. They prefer to communicate by mail. And don’t be fooled by the caller ID: scammers can spoof their phone number into looking like it’s from your state, even if they’re in another part of the country or abroad.
Avoid the scam: If someone calls you on the phone and says your electricity or gas is being turned off, hang up the phone immediately and alert local authorities of criminal activity. Contact your utility company’s billing department to confirm you’re in good standing and to alert them of the scam.
(Here’s how to stop those spam calls for once and for all.)
Utility companies will never ask you for cash, even if a charge is applicable for reconnecting your service. On top of that, utility companies won’t send representatives to your home without confirming with you ahead of time.
Avoid the scam: Don’t give cash to any “representative” who comes to your home, even if they do have a uniform or ID. If someone does come to your home, call your utility company to confirm that they’re a real employee and authorized to be there.
Put this phone number into your cell phone or on your refrigerator door for easy access when needed -UI Customer Service: 800-722-5584.