DES MOINES, Iowa—MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy are teaming up to fight back against scams. Phone billing scams targeting utility customers continue to be a daily battle for the utilities, resulting in money lost for several customers.
Since the beginning of the year, customers have reported more than 400 fraudulent calls to the two utilities. The scammers are targeting all customer bases; however, small businesses and Spanish-speaking customers seem to be the most frequent targets.
In most scam cases, callers pose as utility employees and threaten to shut off power unless the customer makes a payment. Scammers are persistent and aggressive. They use sophisticated methods to trick customers, which include:
- Spoofing Caller ID to make the call appear as if it is coming from the utility.
- Impersonating energy auditors in an attempt to get inside your home or business.
- Intimidating customers by showing up at your door or claiming that a crew is in route to disconnect service.
- Requiring that the customer pay using either a credit card over the phone or with a pre-paid (Green Dot) card.
- Claiming there is an issue with electric or natural gas service equipment inside the house.
Customers who receive a suspicious call should hang up and call local police and their utility to report the scam and check on the status of their account. Call MidAmerican Energy at 1-888-427-5632 or Alliant Energy at 1-800-255-4268.
Protecting customers from scams is a top priority for Alliant Energy and MidAmerican Energy. They want to educate customers on how to avoid falling victim. If customers are behind on bills, they will receive several notifications; disconnection is a last resort, not a first step in the process. Both utilities accept many different forms of payment. A specific payment method is never required when paying your bill.
You can always follow these steps to stay safe:
- Never give out personal information such as credit card or account numbers. Utilities will not ask you for this information over the phone.
- Ask for proper identification from anyone who approaches you. Call the appropriate utility to verify the purpose for the visit. Use the number published on the website or in the phone book.
For more information, visit Alliant Energy’s or MidAmerican Energy’s website or watch this informative video. The video is a product of MidAmerican Energy, but the same safety reminders apply for customers of Alliant Energy as well.
(contributed article Alliant and MidAmerican)