Don’t be fooled by swindlers who operate convincing scams to try and steal your money.
Local police and MidAmerican Energy are warning utility customers of scams that can seem real.
Often, this is how it works-
Scam artists will call claiming to work for MidAmerican Energy and they will inform you of a past-due repair bill. They say if you do not pay it your services will be cut off.
In some cases, the caller will instruct the customer to buy a prepaid Green Dot debit card and tell them to call back with the card’s serial number. Other callers will ask for a customer’s personal credit card information.
Here’s where it get tricky-
According to a spokesperson from MidAmerican Energy, among other things, the scams are so organized that the caller-ID makes it seem like the number is actually from the utility company.
“Many of the scams target the elderly or those for whom English is a second language,” said a MidAmerican spokesperson. “Some small-business owners have received personal visits from scam artists demanding immediate payment.”
How to protect yourself-
Customers are advised to never give personal information (including credit card numbers and account numbers) to an unsolicited or suspicious caller.
You can contact MidAmerican Energy directly to learn about your payment options so you aren’t surprised by an unexpected caller. If you are contacted by a suspicious caller, notify the police.
The telltale signs of a scam-
- This is the first time you’re hearing about an unpaid bill. Know that if MidAmerican notifies a customer of a past-due bill, it may be done with notices, letters, door hangers, phone calls, emails, or personal visits, but MidAmerican says “disconnection is a last resort, not a first step in the process.”
- You are asked for your account number or other personal information. MidAmerican employees will have access to your account number and will not call asking for the information.
- The caller asks for payment via Green Dot prepaid card. “MidAmerican Energy will never request that you purchase a prepaid debit card in order to avoid disconnection.”
- A visitor to your home demands immediate payment. Employees don’t accept payments at a customer’s home or business. MidAmerican employees that visit a home or business will have a company ID card and will be driving a company vehicle.
- The call is from an unknown number, or the caller provides an unfamiliar callback number. If you are contacted by MidAmerican Energy, the callback number will always be either the customer service department’s number- 888-427-5632, the number listed in the phone book and on MidAmerican Energy’s website; or 800-952-0112, the number listed on disconnect notices.
- The caller asks for a credit card number in order to make repairs. Customers are not responsible for routine repairs or meter replacements.
If you receive an unsolicited call, or are unsure of a caller, you are advised to hang up and call MidAmerican Energy at 888-427-5632 to confirm the legitimacy of the call.