Utility bill emails really a virus in disguise

BALTIMORE - A past due notice from your utility company is enough to scare you into action.  And that's just what scammers are counting on when they send out emails hoping threats of a bill will spur you into action.

It's the price you pay for water, power or heat, although you probably dread the utility bills that show up in your mailbox.  But the statements some are getting come with something even worse than a big balance.

According to the government's Internet Crime Complaint Center, people are getting emails from a utility company claiming they've got a new bill that needs to be paid.  You're supposed to click on the attachment to see what you owe, but you won't find a total.  Instead the feds say it's actually a computer virus that could cause serious damage.

The IC3 warning says many of the people sent these emails didn't even use the utility company that sent them the bill.  And even you receive an email that legitimately looks as though it came from your utility provider; you shouldn't click blindly on any attachments.  If you're notified about a bill over email, contact the company independently to find out if you really owe money.

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