With the recent weather crisis in Texas, victims are afraid their power could be cut off. One electric utility company in Texas warns of scams that are threatening customers that their power will be cut off unless they pay 'overdue bills'.
Austin Energy has disclosed that these cybercriminals are using social engineering tactics to scare victims. What better way to do that is to threaten to disconnect the power if payments are not immediately made. "Scammers are trying to take advantage of our customers in the aftermath of the winter storm," said the company in a warning.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also warned earlier today of scammers taking advantage of ongoing extreme weather events to steal utility company customers' money and personal information.
It's important to identify and protect you and your users from different types of attacks, and if your users receive a suspicious call you should advise to take the following measures:
- Check the caller ID. If you don't recognize who is calling you, don't answer it.
- If you're worried about a voicemail concerning an unknown payment, contact the company directly and verify that the message came with them.
- Absolutely NEVER give out any banking information over the phone.
- If the requestor asks to pay by any form (credit card, gift card, money transfer, etc.) it's most likely a scam.
Unfortunately, current events and natural disasters are not going away anytime soon. This is prime real estate for the bad guys to take advantage of victims. It's important to continually educate your users with new-school security awareness training.
Bleeping Computer has the full story.