The Latest Memphis Utility Bill Scam

As a bankruptcy attorney Memphis TN has trusted for decades, I’ve seen many a utility bill scam. And if you’re in a situation where money is tight, you should be aware of how these things happen.

As an example, Anthony Smith recently fell for a scam involving MLGW. Smith was raising a teenage son on his disability check. Someone in his neighborhood told him a relative employed by the Shelby County Community Services Agency could get his $254 MLGW bill paid off for only $125. With money tight, Smith paid attention.

He was cautious and asked the relative to pay the bill first.  She did, and MLGW confirmed the payment. Smith then met the woman in a convenience store parking lot at Park and Highland around midnight and gave the woman the $125.

Days after the exchange, Smith found out the original check used to pay the bill had bounced. When Smith confronted the woman, she sent another check, which bounced as well.

With his bill not paid, MLGW sent Smith a cutoff notice, forcing him to raid his emergency fund. At this point, with a bounced check fee of $40, he owed a total of $419 with $125 down the drain.

“Yes, I’m embarrassed about it, and I know it was wrong on my end to take a shortcut,” Smith said. He knows of two other people who had similar experiences.

How to Avoid Utility Bill Scams

With all the scams out there, you need to stay safe. Here are three things you can do to avoid falling for a scam:

1. Always pay the utility company directly.

If someone calls about your debt, don’t pay over the phone until you’ve verified the caller. In fact, to be totally safe, hang up and call the utility company yourself.

2. Don’t take shortcuts.

Bill payment services like the one above could cost you way more than you ever thought. Even if they don’t end up in a scam, they can cost more in interest.

3. Get rid of the debt.

We can help. Our attorneys offer ways out of utility debt, credit card debt, and other bills you just can’t pay.

If you’ve become overwhelmed with debt, contact us online today or call us at (901) 327-2100.