For Release: 12/04/2013
Minnesota Energy Resources Warns Customers of Utility Scam
Callers threaten disconnection if payment not made quickly
Rosemount, MN – Minnesota Energy Resources has received information that its customers have been contacted by people fraudulently claiming to be company employees and demanding payment or service will be disconnected. The payment could be for a utility bill or equipment upgrade. This is a nationwide problem.
In this particular scam, callers appear to be targeting ethnic restaurants and customers with Spanish surnames. 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 similar cards and then call back to make payment by giving the scammer the account numbers of the purchased card. While most customers recognize the scam, a few have made payment.
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