Better Business Bureau reports rise in scams involving utility companies

Customers duped by Idaho Power scams
BBB: Watch out for job scams
Posted at 10:11 AM, Jul 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-29 12:11:32-04

BOISE, Ida. — With temperatures heating up across the Treasure Valley, utility scammers are also on the rise. Many are impersonating water, electric, and gas company representatives, frequently threatening residents and business owners with deactivation of service if they don't pay up immediately.

Scammers are starting to take advantage of customers here in Idaho. One Ada County woman says she recently lost $897 to a scammer. She reported to the BBB Scam Tracker that she received a message from a caller claiming to be Idaho Power, saying her services would be shut off in 30 minutes. When she called back, she reached what sounded like the real Idaho Power answering message.

When she was finally able to reach someone on the phone, they listed addresses for two of her properties and said her nearly $900 bill was overdue. Since it was close to 5 p.m., the scammer told her Idaho Power was about to close and she needed to pay immediately. The caller told the woman to go to Walgreens and buy Money Pac cards, then to call the technician who was waiting to turn the power off and give him the card numbers.

BBB is reminding customers to not give into pressure to pay. Idaho Power has stated they will never demand immediate payment. Make sure to contact your utility company directly using the number on your bill or on their website. Never pay via gift card or wire transfer. Your utility company will accept a check or credit card.

BBB has a number of resources to help you avoid being scammed here. You can also keep up-to-date and report a scam through the BBB Scam Tracker.