Saturday, November 9, 2013

Warning about Utilities Fraud and Spoofing


The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) warns utility consumers of a growing telephone scam across the country. The scam involves telephone callers claiming to be from a utility company and then employing a variety of techniques to defraud customers.
Some threaten customers with disconnecting electric service to their home or business if they don’t make a payment immediately. The scam artist instructs them to send money via prepaid card or online payment service, such as PayPal or GreenDot, before their power is shut off. The scammer’s caller-ID is falsified so it appears to originate from the utility company, a practice known as “spoofing.”
 
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises consumers who receive suspicious calls to call their utility directly to verify the request for payment. Michigan Utilities have a variety of payment options available for customers, including the ability to pay over a secure Internet site, via U.S. mail, in person at an authorized pay agent location, and by Visa, MasterCard or an eCheck using an authorized utility agent. 
Additional Tips on avoiding utility fraud are available on the MPSC website at www.michigan.gov/documents/mpsc/mpsc-ca_utilityservicefraud_211946_7.pdf?20131106132231  or by visiting the FTC at www.ftc.gov.

This message comes to you via the Michigan Public Service Commission

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