Every Tuesday, we want to inform you of a new scam alert to avoid. This week involves utilities.

It’s been an abnormally cold winter here in Memphis, and though temperatures have been on the rise and the weather has been nice, we aren’t completely out of the winter woods yet. This is why you need to stay cautious of this new scam.

If you get a phone call from the utility company, stay alert and listen to what they say carefully. Utility companies often do use the phone to reach their customers, but scammers do as well.

Scammers are calling people, disguising themselves as the utility company, and telling their victims that they are late on their bill and need to pay immediately, then threaten to shut the utilities off.

However, the scammers require payment by prepaid debit card, which is the obvious sign that this is a scam.

Prepaid debt cards are the same thing as cash, basically, and once the money is transferred, there’s no way to get it back.

Also look out for emails and notices of your electric meter needing to be replaced at your expense.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers the following tips for spotting a utility scam.

  • Prepaid debt cards are a red flag – Your utility company will accept a check or credit card
  • Don’t cave to pressure to pay immediately – If you feel pressed for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill. This will ensure you are speaking to a real representative.
  • Remember that electrical meters are the property of the utility company – This means it’s their responsibility to replace, not yours.
  • Never allow anyone into your home – This always goes unless you have scheduled an appointment or reported a problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper ID.

At Darrell Castle & Associates, we do our best to keep our audience apprised of popular scams affecting people’s money.

If you’re a person who’s more vulnerable to fall for particular scams because of the promise of money, is it because you have bills you’re struggling to pay and you’re falling in debt?

If that’s the case, I’d like for you to consider a better option – filing for bankruptcy. It’s nothing to be afraid of and may be your best option for getting out of debt. With the right attitude, proper lifestyle changes and some patience, you can even come out of a bankruptcy better than you went into it, financially.

It’ll take some work though and we have a 14-week program that will help you called “7 Steps to 720.” This program is free for our clients and it teaches you things the credit card companies don’t want you to know in regards to rebuilding your credit the right way.

Let us help you.

If this is you, contact us today, either online or by calling us at (901) 327-2100.  One of our experienced Memphis bankruptcy attorneys will be happy to speak with you, free of charge.