Better Business Bureau Seeing Increase in Utility Scam Calls

The Better Business Bureau says they are seeing an increase in reports about a utility scam from callers who claim to be from Detroit Edison (DTE).

They say it starts with a phone call from “DTE Gas Field,” and the phone number does not look to be DTE’s. When answered, an automated message plays that says “service will be disconnected in a few hours if you do not pay your outstanding balance,” and prompts recipients to press one to speak to a representative, who is a scammer.

“Unfortunately, scammers have the technology available to spoof Caller ID and spoof phone numbers to make a caller appear like it is coming from a familiar company or person,” said Melanie Duquesnel, President & CEO of Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. “This is why it is so important not to panic if you receive an out-of-the-blue call like this. If you think there may be an issue, hang up the phone and call DTE directly using the number from a bill or their website.”

The Better Business Bureau has shared the following tips to help identify scams similar to this, and what you can do to protect yourself:

  • Tips to Spot This Scam: 
    • Did you receive any previous notices? If your electricity or gas is really going to be turned off due to non-payment, the company would notify you multiple times via phone and mail before they discontinue service.
    • Pressure to pay immediately. Scammers will press for immediate payment and may try high-pressure tactics to intimidate consumers into giving them personal and banking information.

    Protect Yourself Against This Scam:

    • Call customer service. If you feel pressured for immediate action by a caller, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill. This will ensure you are speaking to a real representative. Never give your personal or banking information to an unverified or unsolicited caller.
    • Never allow anyone into your home unless you have scheduled an appointment or reported a problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification before letting them enter.

The bureau asks that if you come across a utility scam, report it to the Better Business Bureau by clicking here.