How Does the Utility Bill Scam Work?
The frightening thing about the utility bill scam is its sheer simplicity. A consumer receives a seemingly legitimate call, email or bill from what appears to be a collection agency. The scammer purports to be a bill collector for one of your utility companies and informs the consumer that their bill is past due. In some cases, they even threaten the consumer with shutting off services.
Because these amounts are usually relatively small, consumers are more apt to address the issue in order to resolve the issue quickly. The scammers use highly aggressive and threatening language to induce panic and urgency in their victims.
That’s where the problems accelerate. Unsuspecting consumers end up handing over payment information to scammers who can then use the payment information to wipe out bank accounts or run up thousands of expenditures on credit cards.
Why Do People Fall for the Utility Bill Scam?
There are several reasons the utility bill scam is so effective. For one, there is a sense of urgency and dire consequences. Imagine receiving an urgent call in the middle of a sweltering heat wave that your electricity is about to be cut off. That means no air conditioning and no power for your refrigerator or freezer.
Instead of playing it cool and checking on their payment history, the victims want to get the issue resolved and not risk any service interruptions.
Few people are going to pause, check the phone number or email, or do a quick Google search that would alert them that they are about to become the victim of a fraudulent hoax.
In many cases, the payment cannot be recovered, leaving victims in the lurch.
How Can Consumers Stay Protected?
There are several things people can do to avoid being preyed upon:
Knowing how to identify and prevent cyberscams is an important safeguard for individuals and businesses alike. At LAN Infotech, we provide network security assessments to identify vulnerabilities on your network. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us today.