bitterly cold temperatures affecting the state, you might expect your utility
bill to be higher than usual,Ē DeWine said. ďBut if youíre
receiving unexpected utility bills from a company thatís not your utility
company, itís likely a scam. Donít respond to the message and donít make a
payment unless you have proof you owe the money.Ē
typical variation of the scam, a consumer receives an email message claiming to
be from PG&E, a west coast utility company, or another out-of-state utility
company. The message often claims the consumer owes $344 or $559 and it may
contain a link to view the consumerís account or most recent statement.
Consumers should not
click on these links.
protect themselves, the AG says consumers should follow these tips:
- Donít respond to unexpected email messages from
senders you donít know. A scam email may look very similar to one from a
- Donít click on links or open attachments. Doing so
could put malware on your computer.
- Copy and paste the emailís first few sentences into an
Internet search engine and add the word ďscam.Ē The results may indicate
whether others have reported similar email messages.
- Skim the email for misspelled words or grammatical
errors. Because email scams sometimes originate outside the United States,
errors could signal a scam.
- Designate unwanted email as junk before deleting it so
future messages from that sender are routed to your junk mailbox.
- When in doubt, call your utility company using a
number you know to be legitimate, such as a number on your most recent
your rights. During the heating season (Nov. 1 through April 15), natural
gas and electric companies generally must give you 24 daysí notice before
disconnecting your service.
- Contact the Public Utilities Commission of
Ohio, www.puco.ohio.gov, to learn
more and to compare electric or natural gas offers in your region.
who suspect a scam or an unfair business practice should contact the Ohio
Attorney Generalís Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov