The Omaha Public Power District is seeing a spike in customer reports of phone scam attempts. The con artists call customers, claim to be from the utility and demand money for alleged meter repairs or replacements, or alleged overdue bills.
While the scam has been around for years, targeting not only OPPD but utilities across the country, this latest uptick in calls comes on the heels of Friday night’s storm which knocked out power to 76,500 customers at its peak. Since then, OPPD has received nearly 30 reports of scam phone calls. The thieves may be monitoring news coverage and trying to take advantage of the situation. OPPD has noticed similar upticks following outage events in January and May of this year.
While the calls come with several variations, their goal is the same – to steal customers’ money. OPPD stresses that none of these people demanding payments or financial information works for the utility.
With regards to these con attempts, OPPD advises customers:
- Never give personal or financial information to a stranger during an unsolicited telephone call.
- If such a person should appear unannounced at one’s door claiming to work for the utility, do not allow them inside. Always ask for identification or verification. OPPD employees always carry identification. Failure to produce identification should always be a tip-off to the customer that something is wrong.
- Never turn off security systems for any reason if a stranger asks. Any customer who receives such a request should call law enforcement immediately.
Customers with any questions about making a payment, or about their account in general, should always call OPPD directly. Within Omaha, the number is 402-536-4131.
As always, any customer service inquiries may be addressed with the local rural offices during business hours, as well.
After hours, or outside of Omaha, customers should call 1-877-536-4131.