SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The phone rings and you are told you paid too much on utility bill. Holy smokes! You think it is your lucky day. Just press a number to get your money and discount. Yes, please!
It is a welcome but strange surprise. Well, not so fast. The Federal Trade Commission warns this is likely scheme to get your money. Utility companies rarely give cash refunds if you really did overpay on a bill. CPS Energy said imposters are using this scheme in our area.
“They say give us your account number, but you got to call this other 800 phone number in order to do that,” said DeAnna Hardwick with CPS Energy. “Once we find out that 800 number, we can work with across other utilities that are against scammers and shut those phone numbers down. So, over the last year, we’ve been able to shut down over 100 different phone numbers.”
CPS Energy said here is how to know if it is a scammer on the line:
“We will never ask for personal bank information. We will never say go get a gift card and call us back,” Hardwick said.
CPS Energy is really calling customers, but only if you have an overdue bill. Do not worry. It is not a collections call. Disconnects are discontinued, for now. This is call is to connect you with help.
”We’re calling to make customers aware of all the different resources that we have,” said Hardwick.
Here is what to do if you find yourself on the phone with someone saying you’re getting a refund:
Check your bill. It will show if you’ve overpaid.
“You can also go to CPSEnergy.com through Manage My Account to see what your current balance is,” Hardwick said.
Do not give out your social security number or banking information. Do not give out any information at all. Remember schemers will use any tidbit to make money at your expense.
Hang up. Do not press any numbers or follow any instructions. Most likely you will end up getting more unwanted calls if you do.
If you have a question for Eyewitness Wants To Know, email us at EWTK@kens5.com or call us as 210-377-8647.