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Feds warn of utility scams following winter blast

Winter Weather Texas Power Failures eletrical grid
Posted at 7:54 PM, Feb 22, 2021

The Federal Trade Commission issued tips for avoiding scams following last week’s deadly blast of winter weather that struck the south.

Millions lost power and water service, and many are awaiting for repairs to water lines. While utilities are mostly back on line, some remain without water service due to busted pipes.

Here are tips from the FTC to avoid falling victim:

  • If you get a call, thank the caller and hang up. Never call a number left in a voicemail, text, or email. Instead, if you're worried, contact the utility company directly using the number on your bill or on the company’s website. Verify if the message came from them.
  • If you get a call out of the blue and the caller claims you have to pay a past due bill or your services will be shut off, never give banking information over the phone. To pay your bill over the phone, always place the call to a number you know is legitimate.
  • Utility companies don’t demand payment information by email, text, or phone. And they won’t force you to pay by phone as your only option.
  • If the caller tells you to pay by gift card, cash reload card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency, it’s a scam. Every time. No matter what they say.