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Energy companies, Better Business Bureau warn against utility scams

Energy customers are warned not to get burned as temperatures drop this winter.

Eversource and the Better Business Bureau expect to see a rise in utility scams during the coming weeks as more scammers become increasingly sophisticated in the way they find unique schemes to take advantage of people.

Scam artists — often sounding legitimate — may threaten to shut off electric service immediately unless instant payment is made, or could claim the customer overpaid a utility bill and request personal bank account or credit card information to give a refund. Penni Conner, executive vice president of customer experience and energy strategy at Eversource, said someone suggesting you pay a bill immediately with a prepaid debit card should be an automatic red flag.

“A common tactic scammers use is creating fear and panic to trick utility customers into making a hasty payment, or providing sensitive personal information,” Paula Fleming of the Better Business Bureau said in a statement.

“Impostors will typically contact customers with a telephone call claiming to be a representative from the utility company. Often, they will claim payment is overdue and that the utility will shut off power within the hour if the bill is not paid immediately. We want to make sure consumers know how to spot the red flags of utility scams so that they can protect themselves if they’re targeted.

“Customers should never give out their personal information or utility account information,” she…

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