Unpaid electricity bill SMS alerts scam on rise, find out how to stay protected


  • A 65-year-old woman lost close to Rs 7 lakh in an unpaid electricity bill scam
  • There has been a rising trend of cyber fraud involving unpaid electricity bills.
  • To stay safe, it is important to stay updated about cyber fraud

Since last year, scammers have been calling people and saying that they haven’t paid their electricity bills in months, threatening to cut off their power if they don’t pay right away. In a recent incident, a 65-year-old woman living in Andheri, Mumbai, was cheated in an unpaid electricity bill scam, losing close to Rs 7 lakh in the process.

The victim received an SMS informing her that she had an unpaid electricity bill, and the scammer then convinced her to download the Team Viewer app on her phone in order to make the payment. This way, the scammer was able to remotely access the victim’s device and carry out several transactions totalling around Rs 7 lakh.

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Unpaid electricity bill SMS scam

The SMS also said that the electricity connection would be disconnected if the bill was not paid. Thus, the woman ended up calling the number, and an individual claiming to be an Adani Electricity employee answered. She was then guided by the scammer to install the Team Viewer Quick Support app on her phone. By taking details like an ID and passcode from the victim, the scammer carried out three transactions.

The victim received three SMS transactions amounting to Rs 4,62,959, Rs 1,39,900, and Rs 89,000. The SBI Fraud Management team called the victim to see if she started the transactions. She said she didn’t, which showed that it was a scam. This is just one example of the rising trend of cyber fraud in India, with scammers using increasingly sophisticated methods to deceive unsuspecting victims.

Anyone can fall prey to cyber fraud

electricity bill payment fake page's screenshot

The electricity bill payment fake page’s screenshot

On one occasion, there was a power outage in my apartment. Upon investigation, I discovered that the mainline fuse had malfunctioned. After replacing the fuse, power was restored. However, I subsequently received several fraudulent text messages concerning unpaid electricity bills. The message stated, “Dear consumer, Your Electricity power` will be disconnected. Tonight at 9:30, Reason your last month bill was not update, please contact electricity office no 87777XXXXX Thank you.” I contacted the phone number provided in the text message and was directed to a \website for payment. The website requested personal information such as name, consumer number, and UPI payment details.

Since I suspected that the website was not an official MSEB webpage, I refrained from making any payments. I found it peculiar that the fraudulent messages were sent only after my electricity was restored. This led me to ponder whether scammers employ automated techniques to send such messages when they detect similar incidents, like the power outage I experienced. One can notice the typos and grammatical errors in the text message I received.

How to stay safe from cyber fraud

Here are a few ways through which one can stay safe from cyber fraud like unpaid electricity bill SMS scam

  1. Pay attention to security alerts sent by electricity regulation boards like MSEB, Adani Electricity, Reliance Power, etc.
  2. Do not give out any personal or banking information such as PIN number or OTP over the phone to anyone claiming to be from an electricity company.
  3. Check the status of your electricity account on the official website or by visiting the closest electricity office.
  4. Be aware of unsolicited messages, especially those related to unpaid electricity bills.
  5. Avoid downloading unfamiliar apps or software on your devices.
  6. Use strong and unique passwords for all online accounts.
  7. Ensure that your devices are equipped with the latest security software and updates.
  8. Stay informed about the latest developments in online scams and frauds.
  9. Be proactive in protecting your sensitive information online.
  10. Contribute to the prevention of cybercrime by reporting any suspicious activity to the relevant authorities.

If you too, have been getting such messages or want to share an incident with us, please connect with us on Twitter @Pricebaba. 

Anvinraj Valiyathara

Anvinraj has been writing about smartphones and other gadgets for over 10 years, with 10,000+ articles published to date. He owns a POCO X3 Pro and Realme X7 Max 5G. His interests include exploring new places, reading, photography, and church activities. At Pricebaba, he covers breaking news and features.