Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt is warning individuals and businesses of utility impostor scams.
In these scams, a caller claims to be from the utility company and threatens to shut off a property’s supply of power, water or gas because the customer’s account is past due.
These scams take advantage of a homeowner’s need to access basic utilities such as heat, air conditioning or drinking water.
Similarly, the scam also takes advantage of businesses’ reliance on these same utilities to keep their customers comfortable or preserve perishable goods.
Faced with the possibility of losing access to these essential utilities, many consumers are quick to pay hundreds of dollars or more to scammers.
“These scams are advanced through scare tactics — where individuals and businesses are faced with the frightening prospect of losing access to heat, cooling or water,” Laxalt said in a statement Wednesday.
“These impostors want you to act out of fear and immediate need,” he said. “I encourage all Nevadans to take the time to pause and think about potential red flags before reacting to potential scams.”
Avoiding utility disconnection scams:
- Remain calm and ask questions to confirm your account status before making a payment.
- Don’t agree to make payments by wire transfer or with a prepaid card over the phone. A legitimate utility representative will explain to a customer how a payment can be made using the utility’s established payment options and will not demand payment over the phone.
- Don’t feel pressured by an upcoming weekend or holiday. According to the Nevada Public Utilities Commission website, a utility company may not disconnect or terminate service the day before a weekend, on the weekend or on a state holiday, unless a safety issue requires disconnection.
- If a utility company representative comes to your home to demand payment for a past due account ask to view an identification badge with the representative’s full name, and then call the utility company directly to discuss the status of your account.
Source: Nevada Attorney General’s Office