Don’t Fall Victim to Utility Bill Scams
Utility customers are being taken in by identity theft and debit card schemes.
DP&L often gets calls from customers who have been taken advantage of by scammers using different cons to get personal information or cash in fraudulent ways.
Two past scams involved:
1. Callers asking for personal and financial information claiming that President Obama was paying utility bills as part of a bailout plan and
2. Callers asking customers to send a pre-paid debit card to pay their bill or to replace dangerous equipment.
In both cases, the scammers are trying to defraud customers. They often target elderly people who are fearful their electricity may be turned off unless they comply immediately. These scammers usually have a little bit of information about you and will try to persuade you to provide more so they can gain access to your bank accounts and/or use your credit card numbers.
A recent scam that has surfaced targets business customers during peak business hours, such as restaurants at lunch time. The scammers try to catch employees off guard to gain account information, and to instill fear that power will be turned off when they have the most customers.
These scams may use email, twitter, phone calls or even door-to-door visits. Many victims received forwarded emails or text messages from well-meaning friends and family who were also victimized.
You should always think twice before providing account or personal and financial information to anyone unless you are positive you know they are legitimate. Before you do anything, hang up and call DP&L at 800-433-8500 to ask questions about anyone contacting you about your bill or claiming to be from the utility.
DP&L offers these tips:
- Never give anyone personal information such as your Social Security number (including the numbers on the back of your Social Security card), bank account number or credit card number unless you initiated the conversation and you are confident the transaction is legitimate.
- If you receive a call from someone claiming to be with your utility company asking for payment, hang up and call the utility’s customer service number. DP&L customers can email us or call 800-433-8500.
- If you have already provided information to someone making this offer, contact your bank and the three national credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, immediately.
- If someone pressures you to provide personal or financial information, hang up immediately. Notify your local police department.
- Check on elderly relatives and friends, often targets of such schemes, to make sure they have not fallen victim to this fraud.