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.
Nova Scotia Power
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
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.