For Release: 10/08/2013
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:
Again, Minnesota Energy Resources will not ask for prepaid cards or other electronic means (PayPal, for example) as a form of payment.