Nevada attorney general warns of utility scams - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Nevada attorney general warns of utility scams

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The Nevada Attorney General is warning consumers of utility scammers. 

In the scams, a caller claims to be from the utility company and threatens to shut off the power, water or gas at a property because the customer's account is past due. Many consumers fall victim to the scam and pay hundreds of dollars or more to scammers because of their reliance on the utilities. 

The attorney general's office said recognizing the scam is the first step to avoid becoming a victim. A utility company should send at least two past due notices in writing before disconnecting or terminating service, and consumers should be suspicious if they receive a threatening phone call with no prior written notice. If you receive a suspicious call, you should hang up immediately and call the utility company directly with the number that appears on the bill to discuss the account. 

Scammers may also call late in the afternoon and create "a sense of urgency" that the account is past due and be resolved before the close of the business day. The tactic aims to make the consumer focus on submitting their payment quickly, rather than confirming whether the account is actually delinquent. The scammer may have access to full or a partial account number, it is unlikely he or she will have dates and amounts of prior invoices. 

In addition, the attorney general's office said if you are being pressured to make an immediate payment, remain calm, and ask questions to confirm your account status before making a payment. Do not agree to make a payment over the phone with a prepaid card or by wire transfer. Also, do not feel pressured by an upcoming weekend or holiday because the Nevada Public Utility Website states that a utility company can't disconnect or terminate service the day before a weekend, on the weekend or on a State holiday, unless a safety issue requires disconnection.

The tips also apply if a representative from a utility company comes to your home and demands payment. If someone physically comes to your home, ask for identification with the representative's full name and then call the utility company to discuss the status of your account. 

Anyone who believes they have been victimized can file a complaint with the Nevada Attorney General and the FTC

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