September 10 2015

Scammers Mimic Energy Company to Steal Money, Identities

By: Rich Hosford

Scammers have reportedly been pretending to representatives of energy companies in order to steal people’s money and identification. 

 

According to a release by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs, there have been reports of two types of scams related to energy companies that have popped up recently in the state. 

 

The first is callers claiming to be from a major energy company like Eversource who threaten to turn people’s utilities off unless they make a payment that day. 

 

Consumers affairs says there are strict regulations governing the shut off of utilities and the legal process includes several notices being sent to you, the customer, first. If you are hearing for the first time about a payment being due that day from you to the energy provider, it is likely a scam.

 

“If they come to your door or call you, be skeptical—ask for credentials and verification about your account,” the office states. “Also consider contacting the authorities.” 

 

The second scam has to do with competitive energy supply companies. While there are many legitimate smaller energy companies who hold title to energy and sell directly to consumers, there are also scammers tempting people with lower rates in order to steal their identities or take their money. 

 

They are seeking information about your energy bill or other personal information, either to commit identity theft or to get you to pay them for work they will not perform.  It is important to note that competitive energy suppliers must be licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities and you can check that agency’s website for a list of licensed companies. 

 

Also, some competitive energy suppliers are licensed but are still engaged in bad business practices. They may be trying to trick or manipulate you into signing up for an energy reselling provider by phone or in person.  In either case, they may ask to see your bill and it is important to understand that you do not need to give it to them. 

 

If you ever think someone is try to scam you or has scammed you, contact the police. 

 
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