Anchorage, Alaska. — Feb. 24, 2017 — Better Business Bureau Serving the Northwest and the Alaska Office of Elder Fraud are warning the public about recent reports of scammers calling consumers pretending to be from their utility or cable company and demanding past due amounts be paid. In the most recent version of the scam, they ask for a credit card number to pay the bogus bill and then tell the consumer the card doesn’t work, before asking for another card number.
Beth Goldstein, supervising attorney with the Office of Elder Fraud, advises anyone contacted by a utility company seeking money to ask for the caller’s name and then call the utility company back at the number listed for their billing department on the internet or the phone directory. It appears this scam is directly targeting the elderly.
Don’t get taken by these impostors. Your BBB recommends the following tips to avoid becoming a victim:
- Investigate past due bills. Make sure the caller, letter or email is actually the utility company. To double check, call the company using the phone number listed on their official website. Confirm where and how to pay the bill and ask how they send past due bills. All of this can be done without giving out account information over the phone.
- Never wire money for a payment. Once the money is sent, it is gone forever. Instead, pay with credit or debit card so charges can be disputed if needed.
- Don’t let them in. It’s not just cash scammers are after. Some fake utility workers pretend to visit homeowners for routine checks, but are actually scoping out the homes security so they can return later to burglarize it. It’s rare for a utility company to do a home visit. If one does show up at the door, ask for identification and look for a vehicle with a company logo on it.
Anyone who believes they may be a victim of a utility scam should contact their local law enforcement and report the incident to BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.
Michelle Tabler, Alaska Marketplace Manager| 907-644- 5208 | mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org