Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District is warning customers of a phone scam attempt to defraud customers of electric utilities, including those in the Kearney area.
The scam involves telephone callers claiming to be from a utility company and then employing a variety of techniques to defraud customers. Some threaten customers with disconnecting electric service to their home or business if they don’t make a payment immediately. The scam artist instructs them to send money via prepaid card or online payment service, such as PayPal or GreenDot, before their power is shut off. The scammer’s caller-ID is falsified, so it appears to originate from the utility company, a practice known as ‘spoofing.’
Previous reports indicated that customers were asked for credit card numbers. NPPD, as a business practice, does not ask for a credit card number.
“We are currently receiving reports of calls from customers who have been contacted by this method. We urge all who are contacted to call their utility, whether it is NPPD or any other public power utility, before providing any type of payment to a request such as this,” said Ken Curry, NPPD vice-president of customer service. Customers are also encouraged to contact local law enforcement about any suspicious calls demanding immediate payment of their electric bill.
NPPD customers who receive such a call should not attempt to make any payment and contact NPPD’s Centralized Customer Care Center at 1-877-ASK-NPPD (877-275-6773) to report the call. If served electrically by a rural public power district or municipality, customers should contact that organization before providing any type of payment.