Utility Bill Fraud
Utility Bill Fraud using Phone Scams
This is predominately a phone scam where the caller attempts to collect payment for an overdue utility bill. The caller/suspect will request payment in the form of a prepaid debit card and instruct you to purchase a prepaid debit card or "green dot" card. In the case of a "green dot" scam, the suspect poses as a debt collector and tells you they need payment immediately, "or else, we’ll shut off your electricity!" You are then instructed to visit a local drug store/convenience store and load money onto a Green Dot card. The scammer will later instruct you to call back with the PIN number on the card. The suspect will then have instant access to the money on the Green Dot card.
TXU Energy is aware of this phone scam and has requested the following information be passed along to you:
- Be aware that TXU Energy may contact its customers by phone regarding payment of an outstanding or delinquent balance, but you can easily distinguish an actual TXU Energy call from the scam because TXU Energy would never ask you to purchase a prepaid credit card.
- TXU Energy does not perform door-to-door collections at your residence or place of business.
- In addition to notifying Highland Park DPS, TXU Energy customers are highly encouraged to report any phone call or visit where you feel you have been the victim of any scam using the TXU Energy name. Customers may call 888-398-8891, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or send an email to TXU Energy. TXU Energy has also created a comprehensive fraud awareness page on their website.
Be careful of "phishing" emails into your inbox, an attempt to use malware (software used to disrupt or obtain data from your computer) to acquire such information as usernames, passwords, and credit card details. These "phishing" emails appear trustworthy and legitimate, often representing well known businesses. A dedicated web-page from Atmos Energy warns against this widespread scam, "...which portrays a bogus bill from Atmos Energy." If you receive a suspicious email from Atmos:
- Do not click on any hyperlinks on the email.
- Double check the account number listed in the email. The "phishing" emails will have a bogus account number.
- Visit the Atmos Energy website and log log into your account to review your statement.
Phone scam-artists target customers from a variety of industries. If you are uncertain about a caller who is soliciting a payment, follow these tips:
- If possible, try to obtain their contact information
- What agency do they represent?
- Was there anything distinctive about their voice?
- What were their instructions to you for payment arrangements?
Protect yourself- there is no harm in doing a little research to verify their information. It’s also important for you to contact Highland Park DPS, or your local law enforcement agency, to report these calls.