According to national news reports, the Better Business Bureau is warning of a new utility bill scam that is popping up throughout the U.S. and Canada. The scam involves asking people to pay their bills with prepaid debit cards.
The BBB reports scammers claim to work for a local electric, water or gas company. Callers tell people they're late on a utility bill and service will be cut off if they don't pay immediately. They then instruct people to purchase a prepaid debit card to pay their bill and call them back with the card number. Thieves then drain the value from the card.
Scammers are targeting prepaid debit cards because wire transfer services have increased fraud detection systems and because scammers don't have to show a photo ID to collect or spend money on the cards.
Be aware that utility companies usually accept a check or credit card and that prepaid debit card transactions cannot be reversed. If you are pressured to make immediate payments, end the call and call the customer service number on your utility bill. Also if someone comes to your home claiming to be a utility company employee, ask for their identification. Do not let the person in your home if you did not schedule for them to visit. Call the utility company to confirm that it sent someone to your home.
Las Cruces residents are encouraged to pay their City of Las Cruces utility bills through these methods:
Check or Money Order through U.S. Mail
Credit or Debit card via Internet (www.las-cruces.org)
Credit or Debit card over the telephone (1-866-426-9757)
Online Bill Payment service offered by your bank
In person at City Hall (all forms of payment)
Check or Money Order deposited to Drop Box – Branigan Library parking lot
Cash payments at the following Western Union locations:
Mr. Payroll – 2240 E. Missouri Avenue & 2121 N. Main Street
Lowes Foods – 1410 E. Missouri Avenue & 2180 N. Main Street
Quick Check – 5245 Porter Drive
Chucky’s Food Mart – 5995 Bataan Memorial West & 800 E. Thorpe Rd.
Check ‘N Go – 400 N. Telshor Suite D
For more information about Las Cruces Utilities payment methods, call 575/541-2111.