As Omaha Public Power District has been reporting, we are receiving a greater number of calls from our customers targeted by scammers. Typically, the callers pose as OPPD reps, demanding payment for bills they claim are overdue.
But now, we’re hearing that scammers are falsely telling customers they need to pay for a meter replacement. OPPD has received around 30 reports of these calls so far today, and the number is climbing.
No matter their method, these scammers are trying to steal money from utility customers.
The scammers demand over-the-phone payment through credit, debit or checking account information, or they instruct customers to purchase a pre-paid debit card – such as a Green Dot card – and to call back with the numbers. Callers tend to be aggressive, threatening to disconnect service if customers do not pay. And they often use “spoofing” technology so that the calls appear to be legitimate.
OPPD stresses that none of these people demanding payments or financial information work for the utility. The utility never cold-calls customers, demanding payment for bills. We do NOT charge for meter replacements. And we do NOT accept payment in the form of pre-paid debit cards.
We continue to advise customers:
- Never give personal or financial information to a stranger during an unsolicited phone 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 is a tip-off to the customer that something is wrong.
- Do not respond to text messages seeking personal information or utility bill payments or click on links within text messages.
- Be suspicious of any emails you receive regarding your utility bill if you have not opted in to online communications from OPPD. Never provide personal information via email or click on suspicious links.
- 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 questions about making a payment, or about their account in general, should always call OPPD directly. Within Omaha, the number is 402-536-4131.
Customers in our rural areas may talk with their local offices during business hours.
Outside of Omaha, customers should call 1-877-536-4131.