Scam Week Continues in Lubbock – Meet the Utility Scam
It looks like the old utility scam is making it's way back to Lubbock. A friend of mine got one of these calls on Thursday morning and had to tell me all about it.
The scam works like this:
- An imposter calls, claiming to be from LP&L, Atmos, etc., usually with an unavailable or out-of-area phone number and have a heavy accent.
- They demand immediate payment for an unpaid bill.
- They will threaten to cut off utilities if the amount is not paid immediately.
- They will ask for such payments as pre-paid credit cards, PayPal, Western Union or even gift cards.
LP&L representatives told me that they will always mail disconnect notices and do not call customers to demand payment.
The biggest victims of this scam are the elderly and business owners.
The helpful tips below come from the Federal Communications Commission to help you avoid these scams:
- Do not answer calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail.
- If you are unclear if a caller is legitimate, hang up, look up the company’s phone number independently on your recent bill or their legitimate website, and contact them through an official number, web form or email address to see if they called you. By initiating the communication yourself, you can verify that the request for payment is legitimate
- If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify – and then target – live respondents.
- If you receive a scam call, write down the number and file a complaint with the FCC and other appropriate authorities so we can help identify and take appropriate action to help consumers targeted by illegal callers.
- Ask your phone service provider if it offers a robocall blocking service that allows subscribers to block unwanted calls. If not, encourage your provider to start offering a blocking service. You can also visit the FCC’s website on “Web Resources for Blocking Robocalls” for information and resources on available robocall blocking tools to help you reduce unwanted calls.
- Legitimate utility companies will not demand payment via gift cards.
Have you had any of these calls now or in the past? We want to hear about them!