Urgent warning over utility bill scam as criminals take advantage of cold weather – how to stay safe

SCAM experts are warning that you need to watch out for criminals taking advantage of the cold weather to try and take your money.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has highlighted several winter-related scams, including phone calls scams that pretend to be from your utility company.

Jane Rupp, President and CEO of BBB Serving Northern Nevada and Utah, said: "We typically see an increase in a few different scams in winter: home improvement, snow removal, furnace inspections, and utility imposters."

The BBB has had reports of scammers ringing people and posing as their utility company.

If you get a phone call like this and start to feel pressured into giving away financial information, you should hang up immediately.

The BBB advises calling the number of your utility company that's on its official website.

You can check with them whether the call you had was in fact a scam.

The same applies if you're concerned about an overdue bill.

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Scammers like to play on bill fears at this time of year.

You should never try and pay a bill over a phone call if you're called up out of the blue.

Double check any claims of overdue payments and always pay through your utility company.

The BBB said: "The trick with avoiding nearly all types of scams is not falling for high-pressure situations, and taking the time to think and research your options."

What to do if you fall victim to a money stealing phone call scam

If you notice quickly, contact your bank immediately and try and get the transaction stopped.

Your financial institution may be able to contact the company in charge of a scammer's account.

If you're in the US, you can report the incident to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.

If you're in the UK you can contact Action Fraud.

In other news, all iPhone users have been warned about a new “ultimate persistence bug” which affects every model – and Apple cannot fix it.

Donald Trump looks set to launch his Truth Social app next month.

And, a viral video on TikTok has pointed out a key feature you should be using if you want more views on the app.

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