Don’t Get Fooled by Common Utility Scams This April
By Jane George, Regional Affairs Director, PPL Electric Utilities
It’s a tradition that has been around since the early 1700s and every year, as the calendar flips to April, many prepare elaborate jokes to play on one another. But just as your zany siblings or friends attempted to fool you growing up, there are just as many people in this world today who are looking to fool you out of your hard-earned money.
PPL Electric Utilities is urging customers to stay vigilant and prevent utility scammers who use deceptive tactics to fool customers into giving up their money or switching to a higher-cost electricity supplier. Remember, scammers never take a day off and they are always looking for the next opportunity to trick you, whether it’s April Fools’ Day or not.
If you receive a call or email asking about your electric bill or electricity supplier, it’s important to make sure you know the warning signs of a scam. Here are a few things to look out for:
- Don’t give into threats: “We’ll shut off your service if you don’t pay us immediately.” Scammers say this, we don’t. If you are at risk of losing service, we’ll notify you and won’t surprise you with a phone call threatening imminent shutoff. Plus, we have numerous programs and payment agreements you can use, if needed, to help pay your bill until you can catch up.
- Pay attention to payment methods: We will never request you pay a bill with a gift card, prepaid card, Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency.
- Watch out for spam: Today’s scammers will use lookalike logos or trademarks to fool you. So, when you open an email, be sure it’s coming from us before you click on anything.
- Don’t always trust caller ID: Scammers can make it look like a phone call is coming from PPL Electric. If you suspect the caller might not really be us, hang up immediately and verify your account information on our website.
Sometimes, scammers knock on doors or could even confront you while in a public place. If a marketer stops you, remember the following tips:
- We’re not salespeople: We do not market or sell supplier services door-to-door. If a solicitor claims to represent PPL Electric, tell them you’re busy and can’t speak. Then contact us directly. Most importantly, don’t provide any personal information to them.
- Take your time: As part of intimidation tactics, scammers may press you to act quickly. Stop, slow down and end the conversation. Reach out to us directly to confirm any details mentioned during the conversation or the status of your bill.
- Ask for identification: All PPL Electric employees carry an ID badge. Our employees are required to show you their ID when asked, so if they can’t produce a badge, shut the door.
Whether it’s an email, phone call or knock at the door, it never hurts to be mindful. Combine these general tips with those mentioned above to ensure you are staying vigilant:
- Update your PPL Electric account with a security PIN or password and never give it to anyone who calls you. That way, when you call us, we can ask for your PIN or password to make sure it’s really you and you’re authorized to talk about the account.
- Sign up for an online account at pplelectric.com to always have access to your information. You can sign up in three easy steps and view your bill status, electricity supplier information, overall usage and more.
- Remember, PPL Electric delivers your power, but in Pennsylvania you can shop around for the electricity supplier that is right for you. Find helpful shopping tips and information you can use to get started at pplelectric.com/shopsmart.
The best way to prevent yourself from falling victim to a scam is to stay informed and be vigilant. And, if anything seems even slightly off about a situation, feel free to get in touch with us. For more information and tips about utility scams, visit pplelectric.com/scams.