Local residents who are contacted by phone and told to make immediate payments to their utility company should be wary of a new telephone scam, cautions state Rep. Nancy Jenkins.
The scam involves callers claiming to be from the utility company, who contact residential and business customers and threaten to disconnect their electrical service unless immediate payment is made. The caller then instructs customers to send money through a prepaid card or online payment service, such as GreenDot or PayPal, in an attempt to defraud people. The scammer’s caller-ID is falsified so it appears to originate from the utility company.
“Michigan utility companies accept a variety of payment methods, so anyone demanding immediate payment should raise a red flag for local residents,” said Jenkins, R-Clayton. “If you suspect the call is not legitimate, hang up and call the utility company’s phone number before providing any financial information. Being extra cautious is always important in situations like this.”
Additional tips on avoiding utility fraud are available on the Michigan Public Service Commission website at www.michigan.gov/documents/mpsc/mpsc-ca_utilityservicefraud_211946_7.pdf?20131106132231 or by visiting the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.