Scam & Fraud Detection and How To Avoid It
Fraud and scams continue to be an issue especially in consumer driven markets like utilities. Knowing how to identify a scam and also protecting yourself by taking action may help to deter it.
Identifying a Scam (Intentionally Misleading Someone)
What to look for: Someone contacting you and demanding you pay your bill immediately or your electricity will be disconnected. They may ask the customer to purchase gift cards and give the caller a verification code. Or they may ask that the customer verify the credit card or bank used to pay the bill.
How to react: Hang up (if someone is calling) or disregard the email (if it’s in your inbox) and reach out to your provider immediately. Never provide payment information over the phone unless you know who you are speaking with and that you’re on a secure line.
More detail: Entrust Energy will never contact a customer and demand immediate payment to keep their electricity connected. There are steps any provider must take to ensure the customer has adequate time to pay their bill before disconnection. Entrust will also only ask for payment information if you’re ready to pay a bill. Our calls are over secure lines so your private information is kept secure.
Identifying Fraud (Deliberate Deception to Secure Financial or Personal Gain)
What to look for:
- Withdrawals from your bank account or charges on your credit card that you didn’t make.
- Debt collectors calling to collect debt that’s not yours.
- Rejection from your health plan because you’ve met your limit although your expenditures don’t meet that limit.
How to React:
- Contact whoever holds the affected accounts for you and let them know of the fraudulent activity. (ex: bank, credit card company, insurance company).
- File a complaint with the FTC: identitytheft.gov
- Read up on fraud ftc.gov/idtheft
- Run your credit report annually (you can do this for free once a year at annualcreditreport.com)
- Review your bank and credit charges regularly