Learn How to Stop Utility Fraud

November 17, 2021

How Utility Scammers Work


  • Scammers often use Caller ID spoofing software to misrepresent the source of a phone call to further mislead and confuse their targets. Call-back numbers provided by these criminals often use greetings and hold messages that mimic legitimate businesses.
  • Scammer will claim their phone number is different from the number listed on the utility bill because they are working from home.
  • Scammers use fraudulent emails tor texts  to portray themselves as utility representatives.
  • Scammers will go door-to-door, claiming to be responding to reports that scammers are in the neighborhood, and invite customers to pay to avoid being scammed.


  • The imposter aggressively tells the customer his or her account is past due and service will be disconnected if payment is not made immediately, often with a prepaid debit card or other non-refundable means of payment.
  • The scammer instructs the customer to pay with cash or prepaid debit card to pay for the cost of a new meter or meter upgrade.
  • The scammer insists a recent payment encountered a system glitch or was not received, asking the customer to pay using a prepaid debit card or by providing personal account information.

With falling temperatures and winter on the way, it is important to be extra vigilant for scammers who prey on utility customers.

That’s why FirstEnergy and dozens of other utilities are banding together for Utility Scam Awareness Week, Nov. 15-19, with Nov. 17 featured as Utility Scam Awareness Day.

Utility Scam Awareness Week is organized by Utilities United Against Scams* (UUAS), a consortium of more than 130 utilities and organizations working together to educate the public about the ever-growing list of scams targeting utility customers.

“We take our customers’ safety and security very seriously,” said Michelle Henry, senior vice president, Customer Experience. “Scammers can be very convincing, and they often target those who are most vulnerable, like customers struggling to make ends meet due to the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Although utility imposters are a threat year-round, they are especially active in winter and summer months, when people are concerned about not having heat or air conditioning. Scammers prey on fear of disconnection, and customers should be wary of any unusual requests related to their account, such as a demand for immediate payment to avoid shutoff.

FirstEnergy customers can shut the door on would-be fraudsters by keeping the following information in mind:

  • Customers who are behind on their accounts receive written notices of a possible disconnection and how to prevent it. FirstEnergy representatives will never call or email to demand immediate payment to avoid a same-day shutoff.
  • Company representatives do make courtesy calls to remind customers about an outstanding balance, but they never require a customer to purchase a pre-paid money card as a means of payment.
  • FE employees will not request sensitive information such as Social Security numbers or bank account information.

Want to learn more? UUAS has prepared a downloadable Consumers Guide to Imposter Utility Scams*.

Also, there’s more information in this FirstEnergy video about utility scams and how to avoid them.

*By clicking the link in this article, you are entering a website maintained by an outside party, which is entirely responsible for the site’s content.