Is a utility threatening to shut off your service? Experts warn of uptick in scams


The Hawaii Better Business Bureau has seen an uptick in utility scams across the state.

Experts say utility scams are a common method for thieves to prey upon people.

Electricity, water, and phone are all utilities that most of us would be lost without, and scammers can use that against you.

“They take advantage of consumers in a moment of confusion, especially when you are threatened with the shutoff of a certain utility, like electricity, which people depend on for day-to-day use,” explained Jason Kama, director of marketing for the Hawaii Better Business Bureau.

So how will you know if you’re being scammed if you’re in a rush to make sure your water or electricity won’t be turned off quickly?

“Any time you feel pressured to act now, just know that if it were a regular utility person, or an actual representative of one of those companies, they would give you time to act on it. There would be bills, and you could be 30, 60 days out before they would take action,” Kama said.

Watch for any language about restrictive payment methods, and if you are ever in doubt, just pick up the phone.

“Any time you are posed with some sort of threat like that, call the utility directly. Look it up in the phone book. Don’t call the number someone gives you,” Kama advised.

If you have a consumer concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or send an email to actionline@khon2.com.

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