Utility Shutoff Scams

Utility scams are "imposter scams" because scam artists pretend to work for your power company. They come in three basic varieties:

  • Calls or texts that threaten you with immediate power shut-offs are scams.
  • Calls telling you that you overpaid your electric bill and are eligible for a refund
  • Calls from your electric company offering you discounts on your future bills

Even though some of these scams make it sound like you're getting a break on your bill, they are all designed to get you to make an immediate payment to the scammer.

Electric shutoff scams:

Utilities don't make "surprise" calls or texts threatening to immediately shut off your power. Even if you were behind on your bill, you would receive many notices by mail before your power would be shut off.

These scams commonly occur just before weekends or holidays, when its harder for customers to reach utility representatives. In fact, utilities never schedule shut-offs at night or on weekends or holidays.

If you get a call threatening you with a power shutoff, hang up to report it.

Utility refund or discount scams:

These scams make you think you're getting money, but in the course of the call, scammers try to get you to share private information (such as your account number or Social Security Number). Then they tell you there's been a glitch and you need to make a payment to correct it.

Protect yourself:

  • Hang up on any caller who claims to be from a utility but demands a payment (for any reason) within hours.
  • If you get a text threatening to cut your electric, don't click the links.
  • If you're worried about a call or text, log into your utility account or call your utility using a number on your bill to verify the information.
  • Do not show your utility bills to door-to-door solicitors.
  • Do not share personal information with anyone who calls you until you can independently verify the information they are giving you.
  • Know that any demand that you immediately pay a utility in a way you never have – bitcoin, gift cards or QR codes –is a scam.


Report suspicious calls and emails:

Scam Squad at 216-443-SCAM (7226) or using our online form.

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