The weather is getting colder and utility scammers are coming out of the woodwork. In the past couple of weeks we’ve seen a noticeable uptick in scam warnings from utilities across the US and Canada. As last year’s Better Business Bureau alert How Cold Temps Are Triggering Utility Company Scams warns, these scams tend to pick up when severe weather makes residential customers feel fearful about service disruptions. In the most typical ruse, a scammer calls a utility customer and tells them that their electricity bill is in arrears and immediate payment is required. The unsuspecting customer often gives out their credit card number or acquires a prepaid debit card to pay the phony bill.

Utilities are using a range of channels to combat these scammers, from traditional approaches like their call centers and bill inserts, to news releases and websites. Increasingly, however, they’re also tapping social networks to educate customers and enlist their help to spread the word throughout their communities.

We’ve gathered examples of recent scam alert and education posts that have caught the attention of many customers. What’s most remarkable about these posts is their high number of likes or favorites, as well as their exponential amplification through shares and retweets.

PSEG

PSEG Facebook post alerts customers to imposter scam

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Duke Energy

Duke Energy Facebook post lists scammers' most-used phone numbers

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Duke Energy Facebook post encourages customers to protect themselves and neighbors

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Duke Energy tweet warns customers not to give money to scammers

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Nova Scotia Power

Nova Scotia Power Facebook post alerts customers to a scam and tells them what to do

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ComEd

ComEd Facebook post uses playful Halloween theme to warn customers not to be tricked

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Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Facebook post uses pickpocket graphic to alert customers to scams

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If you’re interested in learning more about what’s happening right now in utility social media, join our pilot, Socialights, to stay in the know. These biweekly dispatches will show you who’s doing what on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. To be added to the mailing list, or to find out which Socialights dispatches you’re eligible to receive, contact Customer Service.

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