Don’t Fear the Fraudsters – Be Prepared
I’ve spent my entire career in the utility business, and it has given me the unique opportunity to hear from literally thousands of customers about so many issues. The most frustrating, and sometimes heartbreaking, involves customers, many of them senior citizens, who have fallen prey to a utility scam. Unfortunately, utility fraud is on the rise and it’s important to stay vigilant when it comes to protecting your personal and financial information.
Many times, older people are targeted more than any other demographic because they:
- are more likely to own their home,
- typically have money in the bank,
- have good credit, and
- are less willing to report being scammed due to the fear of being considered unable to handle their finances.
Of course, this isn’t to say that only the elderly are victims of fraud. Anyone can succumb to demands when they feel pressured, and scammers play a numbers game. The more calls they make, the more likely they are to succeed. And, residential customers aren’t the only targets either. Small businesses are popular as well because they often have higher bills and are more willing to pay the money without question due to the thought of being forced to close during lucrative business hours.
Virtually all these scams involve someone contacting a customer and telling them that their power will be disconnected unless they pay a certain amount immediately. Many times, they’ll suggest purchasing pre-paid cards to make the payments. These requests can be made over the phone, through email or via text. They can mimic your utility’s phone number on the caller ID and clone on-hold messaging to make things even more convincing.
But, don’t fear the fraudsters – we’ve got you covered. If things don’t seem right, give us a call at 1-800-804-7424, or at (843) 347-3399 in Horry or Georgetown counties or (843) 761-8000 in Berkeley County. One of our customer service representatives will be happy to answer any and all your questions. For more information, visit our fraud awareness page.