UTILITY SCAM: Customers Getting Fake Energy Bills

Posted on: 10:53 pm, January 18, 2014, by

Over the past two weeks, MidAmerican Energy customers nationwide have received bills saying they owe large amounts of money on their utility billing statements.  But the bills and overdue balances are not real.

“I’m very cautious and I pay my bills on time if not ahead of time,” said Eileen Thompson.

Thompson is a banker and said she keeps an eye on what she has paid and what she owes. On Saturday, she received a billing statement in the form of an email from an unfamiliar utility company.

“Basically it said I owed 500 and some dollars on my electric and gas charges,” said Thompson.

The billing statements format was different and urged Thompson to click on a link and give her credit card information. Thompson’s real utility company, MidAmerican energy, said the email is the result of hackers trying to rip off customers.

“They’re receiving an email that actually has the logo of a legitimate utility company on there but it’s not coming from a legitimate utility,” said MidAmerican energy spokesperson Tina Potthoff.

MidAmerican said so far, three utility companies: Atmos Energy, PG&E, and Florida Power and Lines, have been hacked using their logos on the faulty emails.

“We’re encouraging customers if they do see an email like that, if they get it in their inbox, they should notify local law enforcement authorities and also notify their local utility company,” Potthoff said.

Customers are advised not to click on any links within the email or provide personal information. MidAmerican urged for customers to contact their utility service and local police if they have been scammed and to keep a copy of the email for evidence for investigation purposes.

5 comments

  • This isn’t hacking, it’s phishing, and there’s an important difference.

    With hacking, your details are literally stolen. In phishing, a person is tricked into surrendering their information.

    The difference is important because people need to use common sense and stop placing the blame 100% on another entity when they themselves were extremely gullible to fall for it in the first place. Not saying it’s right, but learn to protect yourself instead of shaking your fist.

    • Well, since you wish to be technical, often times, not only are they trying to get your personal info in phishing schemes, they’re attempting to install malware on your system when you open the email or click on a link, so the difference at best is hardly worth noting unless your overly concerned with being “correct”.

  • mary says:

    they hacked official logo of the the legitimate companies

  • c brum says:

    Reading comprehension can be such an invaluable tool

  • Mario Lanza says:

    Getting right the sense of proportion is just as important, and these efforts are extremely clever…one need not be “extremely” gullible. Much more blame is with thieves for trying to steal, in case you have a problem with your basic morality, Troy. Too bad punishment for stealing is not more severe, as it is in, say, Singapore.

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