Texans who are grappling with a winter storm that inflicted massive losses in electricity and natural gas now have something else to worry about: how to avoid a scam.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the operator that manages the flow of electricity to more than 26 million customers, has informed residents a scam circulating on social networks that asks people to send their private account number by text. “Do not do that! We don’t need any of your information to get you back on track – we’re working as fast as possible, ”said ERCOT.
Sure On Wednesday, ERCOT said that 2.7 million Texas households did not have electricity.
The Federal Trade Commission, the government agency that tracks these types of fraud, says crooks surface in almost every case of human suffering, concocting stories of bogus solutions they try to sell to people looking for money, shelter, health or even love.
In 2020, the FTC received nearly 500,000 reports of impostor scams, the most common type of fraud in which a scammer masquerades as a person, or from a government agency or business. .
People reported $ 1.2 billion in losses due to scams last year, with a median loss of $ 850, according to the newspaper. The main categories of scams were related to Covid-19 and stimulus payments, “proving once again that scammers are following the headlines,” the FTC said.
In Texas, those headlines focused on record temperatures from a winter storm that damaged power grid infrastructure and spiked demand.
The FTC suggests that there are several ways to recognize when an unsolicited call or email is a scam. The caller often insists that you act immediately and specify payment methods, such as a gift card or through a money transfer company, or state that there is a problem or a price. They also claim to belong to a known company or organization.
The FTC advises people to block unwanted calls and texts and to avoid providing personal or financial information.