As with any disaster, scammers will use any tragedy they can to trick people into giving them their money. Austin Energy has released warnings that scammers are calling Texas customers and telling them if they do not make an immediate payment, their power will be disconnected within 30-60 minutes. Austin Energy stated that have not been conducting disconnects since March of 2020. As part of the scammers’ call, they state that payments must be made by an untraceable payment method such as a reloadable prepaid debit card. Austin Energy states that they are not calling residential customers to inform them of urgent cut-off deadlines, ask them for information on credit cards or wire transfers, or ask them to pay late bills using untraceable forms of payment like cryptocurrency or gift cards. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also warned earlier of scammers taking advantage of ongoing extreme weather events to steal utility company customers’ money and personal information
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