For Release: 10/08/2013
Minnesota Energy Resources Warns Customers of Utility Scam in Nearby States
Callers threaten disconnection if payment not made quickly
Rosemount, MN – While the company has not received information that its customers have been contacted, Minnesota Energy Resources nonetheless is spreading the word about a nationwide attempt by scammers posing as utility company employees. In the scam, callers have been contacting small businesses and residential energy customers demanding payment for a variety of reasons including past due bills or metering issues. Minnesota Energy Resources sister subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group, Wisconsin Public Service, has reported numerous instances in which customers were called by scammers. A few have made payment.
While reports indicate that the scam has been primarily confined to electric utilities, with colder weather approaching the threat of disconnection of natural gas could surface.
The scammers are using technology that will fraudulently indicate on caller ID that they are representatives of the local utility. They demand payment within hours or service will be terminated. Customers are told to purchase prepaid debit cards, Green Dot cards, or and then call back to make payment by giving the scammer the account numbers of the purchases card.
Minnesota Energy Resources will never ask for a prepaid card as payment for any reason.
Threats of immediate disconnection are a sign that customers might have been contacted by a scammer. To confirm suspicions, customers should follow these tips and report the behavior:
- Calmly write down any information the caller provides to you.
- Take note of the call date and time, caller ID, a description of the caller and any details revealed to you by the caller.
- DO NOT provide any private information or banking information.
- Contact your utility to verify if this was a legitimate call. If not, call the police to report the scam.
Again, Minnesota Energy Resources will not ask for prepaid cards or other electronic means (PayPal, for example) as a form of payment.
For More Information, Contact:
- Jeff Larson
Senior External Affairs Mgr.
- Media Hotline 800-977-2250