In Texas, there has been an increase in electrical bill payment scams. Scammers will call you and demand money while posing as representatives of your light company. If you don’t make a quick payment, they’ll threaten to switch off your energy.
Here’s how to distinguish a fake notification of your electrical company’s intention to terminate service from a legitimate one. and how to prevent being taken advantage of.
What are Electricity Payment Scam Phone Calls
Customers are receiving scam calls from Oncor and Centerpoint Energy. Texas has several utility corporations, often known as Transmission and Distribution Service Providers, including Centerpoint and Oncor (TDSPs).
Calls from local numbers are the first part of the usual money scam call. The caller ID on VOIP (voice over internet protocol) phones may even display the name and contact information for your utility provider.
Your bill is past due, the caller will inform you. They might even be in possession of details on your account, like your account number, address, and electricity service identifier (ESID). They will advise you to pay the payment right away to prevent being disconnected.
Then they will insist on your banking or credit card information and tell you that you must complete the payment over the phone.
They might also insist that you pay in a particular way. For instance, they can inform you that a GreenDot or other prepaid debit card is required for payment. They might also inform you that CashApp or Western Union must be used for payment. What feature unites these payment options? The money is gone once you’ve made the payment. You cannot contest the fraud with the assistance of your bank or credit card provider, and the money cannot be found.
Electricity Payment Scam vs. Real Electricity Company – How to Tell The Difference
Here’s how to distinguish between a fake disconnect notification and an actual electricity payment fraud. For Texas:
- Never will a deregulated TDSP or utility provider call you to ask for money.
- A notice of disconnection will always be mailed to you by your electricity provider.
Electricity Company Disconnection Notice
In Texas, if you receive a notice of electricity disconnection, the electrical provider is required to abide by specific regulations.
- They must provide you a notification of disconnect by letter.
- The disconnection date must not fall on a weekend or holiday and must be at least 10 days after the notice’s date of issuance.
- This will be mailed to you separately from your bill. Disconnection notification shall be made crystal clear in the notice. Additionally, some notices will differ from regular bills in colour, such as pink or yellow.
- The disconnection date, the total amount of past due charges, and all reconnect fees will all be included in the notice.
- Information is available to you in both English and Spanish.
- The phone number and business hours for your electricity provider’s customer care will also be listed in the notice.
- How to pay the amount and ask for a deferred payment plan are both detailed in the notice.
Always contact your electricity provider to discuss disconnection if you are worried about it. You can seek assistance with your electricity bill.
How to Identify a Utility Bill Payment Scam
The scam that Texas consumers are alleging involves disconnected phone calls. However, there are a few techniques to tell if a bill payment fraud is taking place.
- Payment collector in person. No one from the electrical company will knock on your door to demand payment.
- requiring a specific kind of payment: It’s a scam if you have to pay with cash, a wire transfer, CashApp, or a prepaid debit card. These payments cannot be tracked down or reversed. Scammers need these payment options because of this.
- You experience threat. Your electricity company’s legitimate customer service representatives won’t yell or threaten you.
- No notice was sent to you via mail. You must get a disconnection notification in the mail from your electricity provider. Additionally, many businesses will email you and offer you a second warning before disconnecting your service.
How to Report an Electricity Bill Payment Scam
The authorities are able to stop energy payment scams when victims report scammers. Here’s what you can do if you notice any fraud indicators:
- I hung up the phone right away.
- To report the call, get in touch with the nearby utility company.
- By calling the number listed on your bill, get in touch with your electricity provider. Inform them of the call and state that there is no outstanding balance.
- Inform the Texas Attorney General’s Office about the call.
Above all, practise awareness, exercise caution, and safeguard your money and personal data. And remember, by taking these actions, you can contribute to the capture of these criminals!
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