Omaha Public Power District is starting to receive customer reports of phone calls from scammers, posing as utility employees. The scammers are likely taking advantage of the high-profile widespread outages our service territory has been experiencing in recent days.
This scam has been going on for years, with callers targeting utility customers all across the country. Oftentimes, big news about weather events and power outages spark an increase in calls. Scammers appear to be trying to take advantage of customers who are already feeling vulnerable, as thousands are still without power.
Often, the scammers use “spoofing” technology so that caller identification appears to show a legitimate OPPD phone number. In most cases, they try to convince a customer they owe on their bill and they need to pay up immediately over the phone or risk disconnection. In some cases, they falsely claim that customers need to pay for equipment, such as meters. They try to get their targets to give up a credit, debit or pre-paid card of some sort over the phone.
OPPD warns these callers do not represent the utility. The utility never cold calls customers demanding payment. And, we are NOT currently disconnecting power for non-payment, given the challenges so many of our customers are facing right now. This moratorium will extend through July 26.
If you receive such a call, hang up, and call OPPD directly at 402-536-4131. Outside of Omaha, customers can call 1-877-536-4131, toll-free.
OPPD advises customers:
- Never give personal or financial information to a stranger during an unsolicited phone call, whether live or automated.
- 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, and do not click on suspicious links.
- Do not respond to text messages seeking personal information or utility bill payments or click on links within such messages.