Criminals try to exploit people by contacting and demanding instant money.
Aggressive and frightening tactics are commonly used in these scams. A scammer will phone you posing as a representative from your local utility company or energy provider. They’ll tell you that you’re late on your electricity bills and that your account is in default. If you don’t pay up, they often threaten to turn off your electricity or natural gas promptly, usually within an hour or the same day.
You may receive a message claiming that you owe a big but specified sum of money, generally hundreds of dollars, if you miss the call. The imposter will leave a callback number for their “direct line” as well as a threat to disconnect your energy service the next day.
Scammers that are well-organized can even spoof, or duplicate, the phone number that shows on your caller ID to make it appear as if it is from your energy supplier.
You could be worried at this point, and that’s exactly what these con artists are banking on. When you’re scared or alarmed, you can’t think clearly, so you might forget that you’ve paid your bills on time or that you have automatic payments set up.
Keep an eye out for:
Is Bill Pay a genuine service?
When you choose the right bill payment service, online bill payment is safe. An online bill pay service sponsored by a bank or a company that offers online banking services is usually safe and dependable. For example, online bill payment is far safer than presenting a credit card to a waiter at a restaurant.
Who is responsible for unpaid water bills?
In California, the landlord can be held liable for unpaid water bills for rental apartments. Unlike other utilities such as electricity and gas, the water company is frequently a city-owned operation, and as a result, the property owner may be held liable for unpaid dues after a tenant has vacated.
Can landlords charge for water in apartment buildings?
Landlords in California are allowed to levy a nominal fee for processing water bills and pass the expense of service on to tenants. The manner through which the bill will be divided must be specifically mentioned in the lease when metering is shared.
Is it legal for energy suppliers to knock on your door?
In many states where electricity and/or gas markets have been deregulated for residential customers, selling energy contracts at the door is legal. While there are numerous complaints about door-to-door salespeople, it’s important to remember that not all of them are dishonest. Many retail energy providers are able to deliver savings, and some sales people are straightforward and honest. However, because most people are only motivated to make unfavourable reviews public, we rarely hear about pleasant experiences with door-to-door sales.
However, we do not advocate signing an energy contract at the door in general. Why? You won’t have had time to analyse all of your options and know that you’ve made the appropriate choice if you sign an energy contract at the door unless you’re an energy specialist who knows your specific monthly consumption as well as all of the other offers on the market (which is improbable!). If an energy salesperson comes to your door and attempts to persuade you to sign a contract, ask them to leave the contract information in writing so you can consider it further before signing. With most fixed rate contracts lasting one to two years, choose an energy provider shouldn’t be a hasty decision!
Door-to-Door Energy Contracts: Consumer Protection
The vast majority of state energy regulators have enacted explicit regulations governing door-to-door sales. Typical criteria include the following:
- All sales agents must wear attire that clearly identifies which retail energy provider they work for, and they must all wear an identity badge with their complete name on it.
- It is forbidden for sales agents to impersonate the local utility or a previous (incumbent) supplier.
- All information disclosure laws that are generally part of the state’s energy marketing obligations must be followed by door-to-door sales agents.
- criteria for recording (e.g. the agent must audio record the conversation)
Many state energy regulators have also set limits on when door-to-door salespeople and telemarketers can contact potential customers during the day. Your municipality’s rules for door-to-door sales may also be explained. If you’ve had a bad experience with door-to-door sales, you should notify your state’s energy regulator and/or consumer protection agency to see if they broke any local regulations.
Is it possible for the gas supplier to access your home?
Under the Gas Code, entry is permitted. Gas companies can enter during supply to inspect and determine the amount of gas being provided to the business. Gas companies have the authority to enter properties to disconnect and remove fittings while disconnecting a gas supply.
Is it possible to get around an electric metre?
If the person has totally circumvented their metre, they will not be charged for any electricity usage. Once the metre has been tampered with, the person and others around them are at risk of a variety of dangers, some of which can result in serious injury or, in the worst-case scenario, death.
Is it possible for magnets to slow down an electric metre?
Ruth Mathieu-gas Alce’s supply was cut off 14 months ago after PGW personnel spotted a suspicious device on her gas metre at her Lawncrest house.
The power converter, according to PGW, interfered with the metre by releasing a magnetic force, causing it to substantially underreport gasoline usage.
Mathieu-Alce declared her innocence and complained to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
The PUC affirmed an administrative law judge’s decision that PGW had failed to prove that the power adaptor was the cause of her meter’s slowness on Thursday. The company was ordered to restore her service.
In his conclusion, Administrative Law Judge Christopher P. Pell stated, “There is insufficient evidence in the record to indicate that she tampered with her metre.”
In an interview, Mathieu-Alce, who moved from Haiti more than three decades ago, stated that her family had no intention of stealing electricity service. She stated, “We are Christians.” “We wouldn’t do stuff like that, like cheating or lying.”
Customers who fiddle with their metres, an unlawful practise that energy firms warn can result in fires, explosions, and electrocutions, are a constant battleground for utilities.
Internet videos show how to use a magnet to slow down a meter’s unrelenting march. According to tamperers, strategically positioned magnets can slow the spinning metal wheel in old-style analogue metres that gauges usage. Experts claim that magnets have no effect on new digital smart metres.
Magnets are not taken lightly by utilities, as Texas plumber James Hutcheson discovered in 2014.
After his utility, Oncor, fined him $340 for installing an O-shaped magnet on his digital metre, Hutcheson, who lives in a Dallas suburb, uploaded a YouTube diatribe.
When contacted this week, Hutcheson stated that he paid the fine to have his service restored, but claimed he only used the magnet to sort through scrap iron and not to steal power. His YouTube video received 2.5 million views, netting him a lot more money than the utility fine.
PGW was battled in court, not online, by Mathieu-Alce, who lives in the 5100 block of Mebus Street. She presented her case before the PUC last year without the assistance of an attorney.
Jean Daniel Alce, her husband, testified that he installed the “Precision Regulated DC Power Supply” box on the gas metre to improve his TV signal. He denied that the device featured a magnet and that it would have affected the readings on the gas metre.
The power adapter was seized by PGW, but it was not produced during the hearing. It was not checked for magnetism, according to the witnesses.
A magnet, according to PGW spokesman Barry O’Sullivan, would disrupt the amount of energy used recorded on the electronic wireless transmitter on top of each metre, which delivers data to the billing system. However, the gas metre would continue to accurately measure use.
The Mathieu-Alce household used approximately 5,000 hundred cubic feet more than it was invoiced for, according to the metre data. PGW said that some winter bills were close to nil.
PGW must restore Mathieu-service Alce’s and cannot charge her a restoration fee, according to the PUC’s order, but it says nothing about the arrearage.
“We’ll issue her a makeup bill,” O’Sullivan said Friday, “and we’ll work with her as best we can to have the arrears paid while she continues to enjoy the benefits of natural gas at the property.”
How can I save money on my water bill?
We’ve all heard it before, but not turning off the water while brushing your teeth can waste up to 200 gallons of water every month. According to North Carolina State University research, turning off the water while washing your hands for 20 seconds can save up to six gallons each day.
Is it safe to pay bills online?
Online bill payments are usually secure. Security procedures such as usernames and passwords, security layers, encryption, and automated signoff are used by both credit card issuers and financial institutions to assure the safety of transactions.
However, it isn’t a bad idea to take some extra precautions. Here are some things to bear in mind when paying invoices through your financial institution or the payee’s payment site.
- Use a secure connection at all times. Never pay invoices or conduct other financial transactions over public Wi-Fi.
- To ensure that a website is secure, look for “https” at the beginning of the URL. A locked lock or an unbroken key symbol are also security indicators.
- Read the website’s privacy statement to see how it safeguards and secures your personal and financial data.
- Paying with your debit card is not a good idea. Credit cards provide better protection in the event that your card’s data is stolen and used fraudulently.
- Always double-check that your online bill payment operations were performed accurately and in the exact amounts.
Is it safe to use bill-paying apps?
Payment apps normally protect you from illegal transactions, but not always from other types of fraud, even if you link them to a debit or credit card that would otherwise provide such protections.