We are receiving an increased number of customer reports of utility scam phone calls.
So far this month, we have seen more than 450 reports of scam calls. This is 2.5 times the number reported in June. This week, we have seen nearly 130 reports alone.
This long-running con targets customers of utilities here in our area and across the nation. Scammers have been calling customers, claiming their bills are past due and they need to make a payment over the phone. Otherwise, the scammers claim, power will be disconnected. The scammers can be quite aggressive and threatening in their tone.
What you need to know:
- OPPD will not contact you and demand immediate payment over the phone.
- In fact, OPPD customer service representatives cannot take payments over the phone.
- OPPD will not threaten to cut your service on short notice.
- OPPD will not ask for payment via Green Dot card, gift card or pre-paid debit card.
Here are some of the other ways they may try to con customers out of money:
- Text messaging customers to try and get money.
- Asking customers to pay using a cash app.
- Asking customers to pay by buying a gift card or pre-paid credit card of some sort.
- Using robocall technology to leave a message, asking customers to call back and make a payment.
- Recording and playing back authentic utility messages to sound more convincing for customers who call.
Seasonal scam twist
- Making hollow promises of a gift card in exchange for payment.
OPPD is working in partnership with other local public power utilities to raise awareness among our customers, identify scammers’ trends, and get their phone numbers shut down, when possible. We want our residential and business customers to protect themselves by remembering the following:
- NONE of these calls are from the utility. Our call center representatives would never cold-call a customer demanding immediate payment. If customers were truly overdue on their bills to the point where service could be disconnected, they would receive written notice first. Authentic utility representatives never request payment via a purchased payment card.
- NEVER give personal or financial information to a stranger during an unsolicited phone call.
- Do NOT allow entrance to such a person, without proper credentials or utility authorization, appearing unannounced at your door.
- 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.
- Be wary of sales pitches from companies claiming to represent or work with OPPD.
Customers who have any questions about service, their account or bill status, or if in need of financial assistance should call us at 402-536-4131 in the Omaha calling area or 877-536-4131 outside of the Omaha area.