CT BBB offers tips to avoid 'utility-related imposter fraud' - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT BBB offers tips to avoid 'utility-related imposter fraud'

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The Connecticut Better Business Bureau warned state residents to be aware of "utility-related imposter fraud." (BBB photo) The Connecticut Better Business Bureau warned state residents to be aware of "utility-related imposter fraud." (BBB photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The Connecticut Better Business Bureau warned state residents to be aware of "utility-related imposter fraud," which occurs often during the winter months.  

Spokesman for the Connecticut Better Business Bureau Howard Schwartz said "imposter schemes are increasingly used for a huge majority of schemes."

Some "imposter schemes" involve "a phone call from someone claiming to work for a utility, saying that you owe money, and that if you don't pay right away, your electricity or gas will be turned off" according to the Connecticut Better Business Bureau.

Another scheme involves someone, who "may call or knock on your door in an attempt to get you to switch electricity wholesalers, and then put unauthorized charges on your invoices in a process called "cramming," according to the Connecticut Better Business Bureau.

"These calls are just beginning to show up across the country in small pockets right now. Unfortunately, if history is an indicator, we can expect to see a significant uptick in criminal efforts as colder weather approaches. The key motivator in believing the scam artist is fear, and fear is a very potent tool for criminals,"  Schwartz said in a statement on Monday.

The Connecticut Better Business Bureau offered the following tips: 

  • Utilities always give notice - Customers who are scheduled for disconnection due to nonpayment receive written notice via the U.S. mail, which includes the actions they can take to maintain service.
  • They provide company identification - For example, Eversource representatives carry company-issued photo identification and will always provide it when asked. Examine it carefully. Their contractors also carry detailed paperwork about their project. If you have any doubts, call your utility immediately.

The Connecticut Better Business Bureau offered the following tips about what utilities never do:

  • Demand immediate payment or threaten you - Representatives never ask for instant payment in person or over the phone.
  • No solicitation - Utilities do not solicit business by knocking on doors or calling on behalf of third-party energy suppliers. 
  • House visits are very rare - Exceptions might include accessing, maintaining, or ensuring the reliable and safe operation of equipment. 
  • Beware of supplier solicitations - If someone calls or shows up at your door offering to change your electricity wholesaler, beware. Check your utility statements for details about your existing supplier or call the utility.

To compare electricity rates, click here.  

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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