Scammers target utility customers
LINCOLN — Electric customers across the state are receiving some unwanted calls.
A large number of phone scam incidents have been reported this week to the Nebraska Rural Electric Association by its member-systems. Customers served by Howard-Greeley Rural Public Power District, Butler PPD and Loup Valleys RPPD have reported receiving scam calls from individuals stating they are with the local electric utility and are collecting for a past due amount on an electric bill.
The callers claim the bill must be paid immediately or the power will be shut off. Sometimes the scammer’s caller-identification is falsified so it appears to originate from the utility company, a practice known as “spoofing.”
The Nebraska Rural Electric Association said customers should be wary of such scams and follow these tips and suggestions:
— Your local public power district or electric cooperative, as a business practice, does not call to ask customers for a credit card number.
— A local electric utility does not demand payment with a pre-paid card.
— Any customer receiving such a call should not attempt to make payment over the phone.
— Write down the call back number or consider asking where the caller is located.
— Contact law enforcement.-
— If served electrically by a rural public power district or municipality, customers should contact that organization before providing any type of payment.
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The article appeared in The Grand Island Independent on Tuesday, June 26, 2018