If you get this call from your utility company, contact the police – Best Life

Your utility bill is just one thing on that endless list of monthly payments. It’s a drag, but you need to make sure to keep the lights on, the fridge cold and the air conditioning on as the temperatures rise this summer. So, if you receive a call from your respective utility company, chances are you will answer it. But now police are warning a call could actually do more harm than good. Read on to find out what you’ll want to report to authorities right away.

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Recently, the police in the United States issued several warnings regarding different fraudulent calls, including one related to cryptocurrency. In this case, people are getting random calls from strangers demanding that they withdraw money from their bank account and put it in a Bitcoin vending machine or buy a specific form of cryptocurrency, the Salem Police Department in New Hampshire warned. In another scam, criminals are bold enough to impersonate the police themselves. Using jury duty as a ploy, the Albermarle County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia warns that scammers will call and pretend they’re a police officer and owe you a fine for not appear for jury duty.

Both downsides can be scary enough to prompt you to take action immediately, but police advise pausing to determine if the call is legitimate. Yet another scheme has surfaced, this time targeting an integral part of your life: the electricity in your home.

woman looking at electricity bill

Police have issued another warning, as the scammers are now posing as employees of a utility company. In a June 21 Facebook post, the Chatham Borough Police Department in New Jersey issued a suspicious activity warning about the scam, where criminals are targeting FirstEnergy customersan electricity company.

These scammers call and say your power will be cut off unless payment is made locally, according to the FirstEnergy website. They often use caller ID spoofing software that makes it look like the call is really from the power company. They might even have compelling greetings and hold messages if you call a callback number they provide.

“We often make courtesy calls to remind customers of outstanding balances and send written notices of a possible disconnect, but we do NOT call or email to demand immediate payment to avoid a same-day closure,” FirstEnergy said, according to the warning from Chatham Police.

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make payment by credit card
An image bank / iStock

While you may be used to paying your utility bill online or through automatic payments, scammers will often ask to use “unusual payment methods”, according to the warning. These include digital payment apps, cryptocurrencies or money transfers.

If someone contacts you and requests a payment in this form, that should set off some red flags. Police are urging customers to only send payments using ‘established methods’ when ensuring a utility bill is paid.

person knocking at the door
LightField Studios/iStock

These criminals don’t stop at phone calls, they might even show up at your doorstep. And while FirstEnergy will sometimes make courtesy calls to your home, offering you the option to pay a bill in person before cutting off service, those representatives will have company-issued photo identification, police said. of Chatham.

If you have an outstanding balance, the employee will also explain to you how a payment can be made with the established methods, without ever requiring you to pay via a prepaid card.

woman looking worried on the phone

Regardless of how these criminals contact you, it is essential to remain vigilant. The police and FirstEnergy ask you to hang up if you receive a suspected scam call and to close the door if something about a visitor does not suit you.

“If you have any doubts about the status of your account or the identity of a FirstEnergy employee, contact your utility company at the number listed on your bill or on the company’s website,” the company’s website says. ‘Warning. “Never call the number provided by the scammer.”

If you are targeted in any of these schemes, you should also contact FirstEnergy and your local police department, according to Chatham Police.

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