Texas Living

3 Utility Scams to Watch out for

By Eric Butterman 2.21.13

You’re already complaining about the cost of your utilities, but now scam artists are taking money out of Texans’ pocket in another way. One of the more recent scams in Texas is for someone to pose as a city worker or utilities worker to gain access to your home.

In San Antonio, a criminal posing as a city employee told a woman his crew needed to dig in her back yard and asked her to go there with them … and while they were outdoors, someone else stole her valuables.

The best way to avoid this scam is to be alert. A city worker shouldn’t be asking you to come outside; their work doesn’t require it.

Don’t disclose valuable information

The second utility scam involves billing. Scammers claim that the government will take care of your utility bill — all you have to do is give them your Social Security and bank numbers. When it doubt, call the utility authority directly.

And one more to remember. Our State Attorney General’s website informs of an elderly Galveston man who was bilked out of thousands by a utility worker who says his electrical system needed to be replaced because of a power outage. He gave him a check and that’s the last he saw of the “worker.”

A few tips from the site on how to tell if it’s a city or utility employee — ask to see identification and verify they’re using a utility company vehicle; but know that the savviest criminals may wear clothing or drive vehicles that look similar, and even carry false identification. Stay aware and alert, and again, if in doubt, call to verify identity.