Action Line Consumer Alert: Utility bill schemes

Electricity meter

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It’s a scheme that’s been targeting consumers on the mainland and experts are hoping to warn us here in Hawaii before its too late.

“What consumers are being told is that their utility bill is overdue and if a payment is not taken immediately that it’s going to be shut off,” the Hawaii Better Business Bureau Timothy Caminos said.

Caminos said the callers claim to be from different utility companies like the electric, water or gas company.

He says consumers don’t want their services to be shut off so they end up paying.

“The first red flag to look for is if they’re demanding that you pay for services immediately via a prepaid debit card right there that should warn you that it’s a scam,” Caminos said.

The Hawaii BBB says utility companies usually accept a check or credit card.

Paying with a prepaid debit card allows thieves to use the card without having to show ID, the transaction cannot be reversed.

Caminos said most utility companies here in Hawaii will actually give you notice before shutting off any services.

“If you’re concerned you can always contact the utility company directly,” Caminos said.

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