Utility "Overage" Scam

Don’t be fooled into paying for your electricity “overage.” 

Who Is It Targeting: Utility customers 

What Is It: Phishing scam 

What Are They After: One California sheriff’s department has already issued warnings about a new utility scam in the area. With summer just around the corner and all the headline news surrounding the government’s involvement in key climate change policies, scammers are out in full force. They claim that you have gone over your allotted limit for electricity (or any other utility), and therefore must pay the overage immediately or your service will be cut off. 

No one wants to envision their electricity being cut off with the hottest months of the year coming up. And some companies might actually issue polite warnings to their customers about using too much power or water; city governments may even impose a ban on things like watering your lawn or washing your car. But here’s the real sign that something fishy is going on: you will NEVER have to pay an “overage” fine without prior warning, and you will never pay with a prepaid gift card. 

How Can You Avoid It:

  • If your utility company has restrictions on usage, you will be informed in writing.
  • Never give out your personal data or account information to someone who calls you.
  • You will never be required to pay a bill or a fine using a gift card or wire transfer, or via credit card over the phone. 

Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from Patch.com.

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530.

Read next: Phony Parking Ticket Scam 

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