Winter time seems to bring out its own special brand of scammers, although their objective is the same as always: to separate you from your money. In the December 2019 AARP Bulletin, their Fraud Watch Network reports that when the weather turned cold, people in California and across the nation have been receiving urgent calls and e-mails, supposedly from their electric power company. The caller (or e-mailer) demands immediate payment for an “overdue” bill and tells the person that if he/she doesn’t purchase a gift card and call in the payment within 30 minutes, the power will be shut off.
What to do if this happens to you? NEVER respond to this ruse. Always delete the e-mail or hang up the phone immediately. Utility companies will never call you and threaten to shut off your power. Also, they will NEVER ask you to pay a bill with gift cards! If you do get a call like this and it worries you, hang up and then call your utility company at the number on your utility bill to check with them.