WLP has joined with other utility organizations and the State Attorney General’s Office to spread the word about utility-related scams in Iowa.
Several different utility scams surfaced nationwide earlier this year and with the return of cold weather, the prospect for further scams looms large.
The scams use telephone, electronic and in-person methods to obtain money and/or personal information from utility customers. Alliant Energy reported customers in Marshalltown and Perry lost several hundred dollars each when a caller advised them they owed back utility payments. The customers did not owe money, but responded to the threat of disconnection by falling victim to the offer of being able to pay instantly through buying a “pre-paid credit card.”
Another scam reported nationwide last spring involved callers who claimed the federal government was providing credits or applying payments to utility bills. Customers provided personal information, such as bank account numbers and Social Security numbers in order to take advantage of the bogus offer.
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, in conjunction with IAMU, Alliant Energy, Black Hills Energy, the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, the Iowa Utility Association and MidAmerican Energy, is offering advice to utility customers to stop the scams, including hanging up on anyone who calls unannounced demanding payment or personal information; never allowing anyone into your home for an unannounced visit; and to never provide personal information to an unsolicited caller or unannounced visitor. Any suspicions should be reported to local law enforcement or the State Attorney General’s Office at 888-777-4590 or www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov.
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