Utility Scam Asking Consumers for Immediate Payment - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Utility Scam Asking Consumers for Immediate Payment

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NBCRightNow.com - The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission is warning utility consumers of a growing telephone scam across the country.

The commission says scammers are calling claiming to be from a utility company and then use a variety of techniques to try and defraud customers.

Some scammers 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 UTC advises consumers who receive suspicious calls to call their utility directly to verify the request for payment. Consumers are urged to report suspicious calls to both the UTC and the Federal Trade Commission.