Electric utility provider Dayton Power and Light Co. is notifying the public to increasingly intricate utility scams targeting residential properties and small businesses.
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Customers are reminded to never to share personal information over the telephone with suspicious persons claiming to be utility representatives.
“Scammers use sophisticated tactics. Sometimes the DP&L’s phone number appear on the caller ID, even when the call does not come from DP&L,” the utility reports in a recent public notice.
Fraudulent phone calls often begin by claiming customers have overdue accounts, and demand immediate payment in order to prevent disconnection of service, according to the DP&L press release, as well as public notices from numerous utility companies including Vectren, and FirstEnergy.
Often, that immediate payment is demanded in the form of a cash reload card, such as a “Greendot” card, prepaid gift cards, by wiring money or even cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin.
Customers are reminded that DP&L does not endorse a single method or particular type of payment.
Similarly, the Federal Trade Commission reminds consumers that no credible utility would ever demand banking information by email, and would never force customers to pay by telephone as their only option.
Scammers can sound very convincing, the FTC said, preying especially on elderly residents.
Utility companies are also working closely with local authorities.
“Please be aware that this is an industry-wide problem that has affected many utilities across the country,” utility representatives said. “DP&L is working with authorities to stop this unauthorized activity.”
Regardless of the utility provider, customers are advised to hang up the phone on any caller making suspicious claims, and call their utility provider directly to verify their account status.
If the call is determined to have been fraudulent, customers should immediately notify local law enforcement.