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News Releases : Scammers’ calls are on the rise today as callers try to take advantage of pandemic

Omaha Public Power District is, once again, seeing an uptick in reports of scammers trying to take advantage of our customers. Before noon, we’d already received more than 60 reports from our customers. And those are just the calls we know about.

Scammers may be trying to take advantage of the increased number of people who are working from home or who have students taking classes online, due to COVID-19.

The scam pre-dates COVID-19, though. It’s been happening all across the country for years, now. Aggressive callers pose as utility workers, trying to convince customers they owe money either for a bill or equipment, such as a meter. Often they use “spoofing” technology to make their phone numbers appear legitimate on caller identification. The scammers typically instruct customers to use a pre-paid debit, gift, or Green Dot card to settle up. They threaten to disconnect service if customers do not pay.

OPPD does NOT charge for meters and would NEVER cold-call customers demanding payment.

Also, keep in mind, OPPD has suspended disconnections for non-payment until 30 days after the expiration of the last directed health measures of any of the 13 counties within OPPD’s service territory. So, any threat to shut off power right now should immediately tip customers off that the caller is trying to scam them.

If you receive such a call, hang up.

The disconnection moratorium is part of a series of Customer First Solutions to help our customers facing challenges related to COVID-19. OPPD is also waiving late bill payment charges for customers until 30 days after the expiration of the last directed health measures of any of the 13 counties within OPPD’s service territory.

OPPD cautions customers, NEVER give personal or financial information to a stranger during an unsolicited phone call. If such a person should appear at their door unannounced, claiming to work for the utility, ask for identification or verification. OPPD employees always carry identification. Failure to produce identification is a tip-off to the customer that something is wrong.

Customers with questions about making a payment, or about their account in general, should always call OPPD directly. Within Omaha, the number is 402-536-4131. Outside of Omaha, customers should call 1-877-536-4131.