Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Avoiding Utility Scams - information from Perennial Public Power District

Avoid Utility Scams
Recently there has been an increase in the number of phishing scams and scams involving callers claiming to represent utility companies. Perennial Public Power District will never send you an e-mail or call you with a request asking for your account number, password or other personal information.

Phishing scams find ways to redirect you to a page that looks like the login to a utility or financial institution website. Once you are on the fraudulent website, if you type in your login information, it will be sent to the “bad guys”, even though it looks like a site you trust. Always look at the Uniform Resource Locator (URL), which is the web pages full address. A fraudulent web site usually includes other sub-domain names listed in front of the original domain name.

How to avoid falling for scams?
·         Be wary of giving your personal information over the phone. Never provide your Social Security Number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident with whom you are speaking.
·         Do your research. If you receive a call claiming to be your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your bill.
·         Beware of the door-to-door sales approach. Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you scheduled an appointment or reported a problem to your utility. Always ask utility employees for proper identification.
·         Be proactive. If you already have provided information to someone claiming to offer this service, contact your bank immediately. Also contact the three national credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – and request a notation made on your account so that it doesn’t impact your credit rating.
·         Inform others. Share this information with friends and family so they do not become victims. The elderly are common victims of these types of scams, but anyone who pays a utility bill is a potential victim. Contact local law enforcement about any suspicious phone calls or emails.

No comments: