WPS reports more instances of utility scam
Scammers posing as utility company employees have been contacting small businesses and residential energy customers of Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) sporadically in a scam that gained widespread notoriety last year as victims surfaced across the country.
Here’s the scam: Someone calls customers requesting money for “delinquent accounts,” advising that utility payments had not been received. Customers were told that their power would be disconnected immediately, but they were given an hour or two to make payment to avoid the disconnection. A major red flag in this scam is that customers were told to purchase prepaid debit cards and then call back to make payment. Another version is the customer is told to assemble the cash for pickup. According to WPS, the utility company will never provide these instructions for making payment on your account.
Threats of immediate disconnection are a sign that customers might have been contacted by a scammer. To confirm suspicions, customers should follow these tips and report the behavior:
• Calmly write down any information the caller provides to you. Take note of the call date and time, caller ID, a description of the caller and any details revealed to you by the caller. DO NOT provide any private information or banking information.
• Contact your utility to verify this was a legitimate call.
• If not, call the police to report the scam.
Customers who may have been “scammed” in this fashion should contact the police.