As if the worry of whether or not their power lines could withstand the madness of Hurricane Lane these past few weeks, Hawaii’s Electric companies, just can’t get a break as scammers are now targeting Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawai’i Electric Light, by demanding payments in bitcoin, a digital currency, or else their services will be shut off.
“The Hawaiian Electric Companies urge their customers that as all other US utilities, the companies do not accept bitcoin as a form of payment. According to Utilities United Against Scams, earlier this month a rising surge of bitcoin scammers began targeting utility customers on the US mainland, demanding bitcoin to pay supposedly “past due” bills,” reported Maui Now.
How the scam works is victims will receive a call with a callback number and automated prompts, which are also used by legitimate Hawaiian Electric companies. They then will provide a QC code to scan for payment at a bitcoin machine, which will then convert dollars into the digital currency.
To avoid becoming a victim of this scam, Maui Electric would like all customers to follow the tips below:
- Any calls demanding immediate payment from Hawaiian Electric Companies over the phone or via prepaid debit cards or bitcoin are scams.
- Callers asking to meet for payment or providing directions to a bitcoin machine are scammers.
- Callers who make threats of discontinuing services unless payments are made immediately are scammers.