State officials are warning Pennsylvania residents to be aware of an electricity-related scam.
Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said her office has received reports that utility customers are receiving calls from “con artists pretending to be utility collection representatives,” according to a press release. The scammers are threatening that electricity will be shut off if the consumer does not obtain a green dot card or wire money.
Green Dot Cards are reloadable debit cards that can be used by consumers to pay bills. “These prepaid cards are often preferred by scammers as they do not have to retrieve the funds in person, as they do with a wire transfer. All the scam artist needs is the number on the Green Dot Card, and the funds can be accessed remotely,” the attorney general’s press release said.
Anyone who receives a call like this should not panic, Kane said. Do not to give out personal information and never to provide credit card or bank account information to them, Kane said in the release. If necessary, call your utility company directly for the status of your account.
The Public Utility Commission regulations require that utilities provide a written Service Termination Notice to the consumer and additional personal contacts prior to discontinuing service. These notices will provide you with a telephone number and office address, so payment arrangements can be made, and also provide the telephone number of the PUC, the attorney general said.