Fighting back against scammers who impersonate utility companies, Florida Public Service Commission Chairman Art Graham has created a public service announcement (PSA) to remind consumers about recent scams and offer tips to avoid becoming a victim.
Chairman Graham’s PSA will air on the PSC’s website during National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 2 through 8, and he encourages other media outlets to also broadcast or post it on their websites. Now in its 16th year, NCPW occurs annually to remind consumers to be aware, protect identities, spend wisely, and recognize credit fraud.
“The NCPW 2014 message is easy to remember and one we’re promoting: It’s never too early or too late to become a more informed and empowered consumer,” said Chairman Graham. “Another good—and probably familiar—reminder for us, is, ‘if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!’”
Complementing Chairman Graham’s NCPW message, the PSC will distribute information about scams aimed at utility customers and how consumers can better protect themselves. Here are examples of scams occurring in Florida and nationwide:
o E-mail scammers are targeting consumers with e-mails that appear to be monthly bills from legitimate utilities. These e-mails are bogus and may contain a link directing a consumer to a site containing malware.
o Phone scammers, posing as official utility employees, demand immediate “past due payments” with a prepaid credit card or MoneyPak card to prevent service disconnection.
o In a recent nationwide phishing scam, scammers advised utility customers that a third party—in most cases the Federal Government or President Obama—would pay their utility bills through a new federal program.
o A recent aggressive energy marketing scheme targeted utility customers to offer fake energy audits. The PSC will also attend community events during NCPW to help Florida consumers get the resources they need to avoid becoming victims of fraud or scams, and provide tips for energy and water conservation to help manage their bills. Look for more information on the PSC’s website at www.floridapsc.com, or call the Commission’s toll free number, 1-800-342-3552.
For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.
Follow the PSC on Twitter, @floridapsc.