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Utility scams on the rise in Acadiana

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More Eye on Scams

The Better Business Bureau is warning Acadiana residents of fake collection calls and emails. 

Con-artists are using fear tactics to scam residents regarding their utility bills. 

The scammers are calling or emailing and falsely claiming consumers and businesses are behind on payments and about to be shut off. 

Recently, we’ve received reports from consumers that they’re getting calls from scammers that are impersonating their energy companies saying that their power their electricity is going to be cut off because their accounts past due and it needs payment, added Chris Babin, Business Administration Manager with the Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana

Scammers identify themselves as a representative from your local electric or gas company. 

They tell you your bill is late and you need to pay immediately. 

The way to tell that this is a scam is typically they ask for payment methods that aren’t normally excepted or aren’t common, explained Babin. They ask for prepaid debit or credit card information. They ask for you to go get iTunes gift cards as crazy as that sounds. 

The scammer will tell you to gather the payment and call them back. This is a warning sign. 

Babin said, That money is going to go straight to the scammer which is the reason they want you to use something like a prepaid debit card or credit card because once the funds have left that particular card there’s no getting them back. 

These con-artists will attempt to make the call sound as legitimate as they can by using scare tactics. 

When these scammers start tapping into those emotions and start making you scared it’s a little bit hard to make the right decision so just take a step back and think and think about the decision that you making before you make a haste payment over the phone, explained Babin

Some tips to avoid these utility scams are as follows: 

  • If a caller specifically urges you to pay by prepaid debit card or wire transfer– this is a huge warning sign. 

  • If you feel pressured for immediate payment over the phone, hang up. 

  • Ask for proper identification for those who claim they’re utility employees. 

Scammers are also using other ways to prey on utility customers.  

They claim your electric meter is not working properly and must be immediately replaced at your expense or the electricity will be shut off. 

The Better Business Bureau says to watch out for emails or texts disguised as overdue notices from your utility company. 

For more information, click here

If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at smasters@klfy.com

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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