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Delhi residents beware: Electricity bill scammers are on the prowl

Fraudsters send messages claiming overdue payments and urging people to click on dubious links or call unfamiliar numbers. These links often lead to malware-infested websites

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Sunainaa Chadha NEW DELHI

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Delhiites, be alert!  Fraudsters are targeting electricity consumers in the city, impersonating officials from power distribution companies (discoms) like BSES and Tata Power DDL. These scammers aim to steal personal financial information and trick you into parting with your hard-earned money.

Electricity bill scammers try to steal your information by sending messages claiming overdue payments. These messages pressure you to click suspicious links or call unknown numbers, which can lead to malware or connect you to fake company representatives who will try to steal your personal details.

The Modus Operandi:

The scam unfolds through various methods, including:

SMS Phishing: You might receive SMS messages claiming overdue electricity bills and threatening immediate power disconnection if not paid promptly. The message will often include a suspicious link for "online payment" or "bill update."

Phone scams: You could receive calls from individuals posing as discom representatives, urging you to clear outstanding dues to avoid disconnection. They may provide fake phone numbers for "payment processing" or request your bank details for "immediate settlement."

Email deception: Fraudulent emails, seemingly from your discom, might land in your inbox, warning about unpaid bills or requesting information updates. These emails often contain malicious links or attachments that compromise your device or steal personal data.

Recently, a doctor in Delhi fell victim to a similar cyber fraud after clicking on a fake link supposedly to pay his electricity bill, losing Rs 6 lakh. 

A spokesperson of BSES discoms -- BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) and BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) -- was quoted by PTI as saying that consumers need to remain vigilant and exercise caution while paying their electricity bills and use only bonafide BSES-authorised platforms.

Point to note: Discom officials will never ask for your bank details, CVV number, or OTP (one-time password) over the phone, email, or through suspicious links.

Scammers often use official-looking logos and language to trick you into clicking links that lead to fake websites designed to steal your personal information. Calling the provided numbers connects you to imposters posing as discom representatives who will try to steal your financial data.


Don't Fall for the Pressure Tactics:

These scams rely on creating a sense of urgency and fear. Remember, legitimate discoms follow proper procedures for bill collection and wouldn't resort to sudden disconnections without prior notifications. Verify sender's authenticity, watch for urgency cues, and check for errors in messages. Contact electricity board directly if unsure. Beware of text message scams and false KYC update requests.

How to protect yourself:

Verify Before You Pay: Always contact your discom directly using their official phone numbers or websites listed on their bills or official communication channels. Never rely on phone numbers or links provided in unsolicited messages.

Never share sensitive information: Discoms wouldn't ask for bank account details, passwords, or One-Time Passwords (OTPs) over the phone or through unverified links.

Report Suspicious Activity: If you encounter a suspected scam attempt, report it immediately to the customer care department of your discom (BSES or Tata Power DDL). You can also report cybercrime to the official website of the Delhi Police Cyber Cell.

A Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) spokesperson advised customers to ensure that the website URL starts with "https://" before entering any sensitive information for bill payments.

"This lets you know that all your communication and data is encrypted as it passes from your browser to the website's server. Consumers should also avoid using public computers in places such as internet cafes, clubs, hotels, libraries for online banking," she said.


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First Published: Jul 10 2024 | 12:52 PM IST

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