Electricity bill scam: Delhi discoms urge consumers to exercise caution, follow safety tips

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New Delhi, Jul 9 (PTI) With the growing number of cyber fraud incidents targeting electricity consumers being reported in Delhi, power discoms have urged consumers to exercise caution and follow safety tips.

"They (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, while the phone calls connect you to imposters posing as official representatives," a discom official said.

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, discom officials said, adding that an increasing number of electricity bill scams are being reported from across the country.

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

Our officials never ask consumers for their bank or credit/debit card details, CVV number or OTP, the spokesperson emphasised. "The messages (sent by fraudsters) typically warn of immediate power disconnection due to unpaid bills and ask recipients to clear the payment through a given link. These messages may even include official-looking logos and language to create a sense of legitimacy. Consumers receive these messages through SMS, e-mail or phone call," the discom official explained.

These online inks provided with the messages lead to fraudulent websites designed to steal personal information, the official said. Similarly, calling the provided numbers connect victims to imposters posing as discom representatives who attempt to extract sensitive financial data, he added.

In both scenarios, the goal is to extract sensitive information, such as bank details, CVV number and OTP (one-time password) for online transactions. These details are then used to steal money from the the victim's bank account, the official said.

He said that BSES regularly conducts campaigns in Delhi through social media platforms, RWA (resident welfare association) meets and other activities to raise consumer awareness about the importance of vigilance against such frauds.

"Consumers should never click on unknown links or call suspicious numbers received via SMS/email, nor download suspicious apps or follow instructions related to bank transactions from unverified sources," he advised.

Other safety tips include never sharing personal information or using unverified apps when paying electricity bills, the discom official added.

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.

As the technological landscape evolves, leading to significant advancements in the power sector, it also creates opportunities for scams and frauds, the TPDDL spokesperson said. PTI VIT VIT BHJ BHJ

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