According to the Financial Fraud Research Center, between $40 and $50 billion is lost to fraud each year in the United States. Energy supplier scams targeting energy consumers make up a portion of those losses. Fortunately, you can protect yourself and your small business from such schemes with these three simple and straightforward methods.
1) Know Your Utility Company and Energy Supplier
By maintaining proactive relationships with your utility (the company that takes care of the lines, poles, and meters in your area) and your energy supplier (the company you purchase your electricity and/or natural gas from), you will have a better understanding of your energy use, billing cycle, usage fees, and more. This includes reading any and all service agreements between you, your energy supplier, and your utility.
For example: Only your local utility can disconnect service, and all disconnection notices are done in writing with a specific date and deadline — not over the phone.
2) Always Protect Your Personal Information
If an unverified caller demands your credit or debit card information — or asks for payment with a prepaid debit card — this is ALWAYS a red flag. Direct Energy Business (heck, any reputable energy supplier) will never require payment with prepaid debit cards.
If you’re a Direct Energy Business customer and receive a call, email, text, or visit from someone asking for payment via prepaid debit card, please contact Direct Energy Business Customer Care at 1-866-867-8167.
3) Hang Up the Phone
Seriously – if you ever feel pressured to provide personal or payment information to someone claiming to represent your local utility or energy supplier, just hang up the phone. Then, you should call the customer service number on your billing invoice, as this will ensure you are speaking with a real, trusted representative. When you speak to this person, please share with them the details of the suspicious call you just received, because your energy supplier will want to report all energy scams to the proper authorities.
For more information on how to protect and boost your small business, please visit our Small Business page.