Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford is advising Nevadans to watch out for utility imposter phone scams as local businesses reopen.
During this transition, scammers may attempt to promote misleading and fraudulent information to consumers and small local business owners.
Imposter scams, both online and over the phone, come in many forms. The basic utility imposter scam involves a scammer posing as a member of a reputable utility company demanding money from unsuspecting customers.
The scammer often calls from a number that has been “spoofed” to look like it belongs to the actual company; however, it is just an attempt to add legitimacy to the scam.
They will usually explain that the consumer is behind on his or her utility bill and demands immediate payment to avoid a shutoff of utilities. This is just a scare tactic.
Ask for details about your account to verify whether the caller is legitimate. If the caller is unable or unwilling to provide details such as dates and amounts of prior invoices and payments, hang up and call the utility company directly.
The Office of the Nevada Attorney General suggests the following additional tips to avoid utility imposter scams:
· If you are being pressured to make an immediate payment, remain calm and ask questions to confirm your account status before making a payment;
· Don’t agree to make payments by wire transfer or with a prepaid card over the telephone. A legitimate utility representative will explain to a customer how a payment can be made using the utility’s established payment options, and will not demand payment over the phone; and
· Don’t feel pressured by an upcoming weekend or holiday. A utility company may not disconnect or terminate service the day before a weekend, on the weekend or on a State holiday, unless a safety issue requires disconnection.