Ohio Attorney General warns of utility bill e-mail scam - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Ohio Attorney General warns of utility bill e-mail scam

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is warning Ohioans to be on the lookout for a utility bill scam.

DeWine says that his office has received more than 30 reports of utility bill e-mail scams across the state. He says the cold weather enables the scams to come off as an actual bill.

"With bitterly cold temperatures affecting the state, you might expect your utility bill to be higher than usual," DeWine said. 

The typical scam will claim to be an e-mail from PG&E or another out-of-state utility company. The message will often say that the customer owes $344 or $559, and could contain a link that would supposedly allow you to access your account. DeWine says to not click on the links. 

"If you're receiving unexpected utility bills from a company that's not your utility company, it's likely a scam. Don't respond to the message and don't make a payment unless you have proof you owe the money," he said.

The Ohio Attorney General's office provides the following tips on how consumers can protect themselves from e-mail scams:

  • Don't respond to unexpected messages from senders you don't know. A scam e-mail may look very similar to one from a legitimate business.
  • Don't click on links or open attachments. You could put malware on your computer.
  • Copy and paste the e-mail's first few sentences into an Internet search engine and add the word "scam." The results may indicate whether others have reported similar e-mail messages.
  • Skim the e-mail for misspelled words or grammatical errors. E-mail scams sometimes originate outside the United States, and errors could signal a scam.
  • Designate unwanted e-mail as junk before deleting it so future messages from that sender are routed to your junk mailbox.
  • When in doubt, call your utility company using a number you know to be legitimate, such as a number on your most recent statement.
  • Know your rights. During the heating season (November 1 through April 15), natural gas and electric companies generally must give you 24 days notice before disconnecting your service. 

If you suspect a scam or an unfair business practice, contact the Ohio Attorney General's Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.

 

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