COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD)- It’s hot out there and scammers may be looking to take advantage of the extreme temperatures.

The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) is warning against a possible uptick in utility scams as temperatures heat up across the state.

Utility scams are often categorized as imposter scams–fraudsters pose as someone (or something) else to try to convince you to send them money. Imposter scams are the most common form of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission, which has received 166,497 complaints of imposter scams to date in 2022.

In utility scams, scammers may call pretending to be a utility company and threaten to cut off your power unless you pay them.

According to the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff, utility companiT es are required to provide consumers with written notice at least ten days before their service is shut off.

Red flags to watch out for:

  1. Asking for alternative forms of payment such as prepaid debit cards, cryptocurrency, or wife transfer
  2. Using scare tactics or threatening you into paying on the spot
  3. Cold-calling and asking for you to verify personal information

To report a scam or for more information on defending against scams call the SCDCA Identity Theft Unit at 1 (844) TELL DCA (835-5322) or visit consumer.sc.gov and click the Identity Theft Unit tab.