LOS ANGELES & SAN JOSE—It's the middle of summer and with the record heat we’re running the AC day and night, which translates into higher electricity bills. Scammers use this opportunity to tempt consumers with the promise of lower energy payments.
How the Scam Works
You get a call from someone claiming to represent a local energy company or government agency. This "representative" says he or she wants to help you lower your energy bills. The "program" may involve registering for tax credits, enrolling in an alternative energy program or signing up with a competitive energy supplier.
Do your homework before falling for a scam like this. In some cases, con artists want to enroll you in a non-existent program or sign up for tax credits, which requires you to share personal information such as your Social Security number. This opens you up to the risk of identify theft. In other versions, the "program" involves paying upfront for future energy savings that never materialize.
Tips to Avoid an Energy Bill Scam
The American Coalition of Competitive Energy Suppliers has resources for consumers to evaluate competing energy company offers.