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AARP Pennsylvania warns of rising utility scams amid summer heat

AARP Pennsylvania warns of rising utility scams amid summer heat

AARP Pennsylvania warns of rising utility scams amid summer heat

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania — As summer temperatures rise, so do utility bills, creating fertile ground for scammers targeting seniors. AARP Pennsylvania has issued a warning about an increase in utility scams that take advantage of residents during the warmer months, when energy use is at its peak.

The threat of scams in public services

Utility scams are becoming more sophisticated, and scammers often pose as utility company representatives. These scammers use a variety of tactics to trick people into providing personal information or making payments. Mary Bach, an AARP Pennsylvania volunteer and chair of the Consumer Issues Task Force, emphasizes the need to be vigilant. “Scammers are becoming more sophisticated, and often pose as utility company representatives,” she said. “It’s critical to be aware of these tactics and verify the legitimacy of any unsolicited contact related to your utilities.”

Most common scam tactics

These scams can take many forms: phone calls, emails, or even in-person visits. One common tactic is to threaten immediate disconnection of service unless payment is made. Another is to offer significant discounts on utility bills in exchange for personal information. To avoid falling victim, AARP Pennsylvania recommends residents always contact their utility company directly using the number on their bill to verify any claims.

Growing concerns among older adults

A recent AARP poll found that Pennsylvania voters age 50 and older are very concerned about fraud and scams. Sixty-two percent of voters in this demographic expressed deep concern about issues like robocalls, phishing emails, and other fraudulent tactics that could harm them or their families. This concern spans political affiliations, and voters across the spectrum recognize the threat.

Importance of education and caution

David Kalinoski, associate state director for AARP, stresses the importance of staying informed and being cautious. “We urge everyone to stay informed and cautious. Never give out personal or financial information to unsolicited callers,” he advised. He noted that utility companies typically send multiple notices before disconnecting service and will never demand immediate payment over the phone.

Beware of the wave of scams in public services

The rise in utility-related scams has broader implications. As more people turn to electronic communication and online transactions, the risk of falling victim to sophisticated fraud increases. Older adults, who may be less familiar with digital security measures, are especially vulnerable. Protecting this demographic is essential not only for their financial well-being, but also for their overall sense of security.

AARP Pennsylvania Call to Action

Failing to address these scams could result in significant financial losses and emotional distress for many people. Additionally, widespread fraud can undermine trust in legitimate utility companies, complicating their relationships with customers. By raising awareness and promoting caution, AARP Pennsylvania seeks to mitigate these risks.

As utility-related scams become more prevalent, especially during the high-energy summer months, it is critical for residents to remain vigilant. By verifying the legitimacy of unsolicited contacts and protecting personal information, individuals can protect themselves from fraud. AARP Pennsylvania’s efforts to educate and warn the public are vital steps in combating these deceptive practices.

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