(Cassopolis, MI) – Midwest Energy Cooperative is warning customers of a bill payment scam involving requests for personal information and mentions of a federal program that provides funds for utility payments.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued a nationwide warning about this scam, indicating that consumers have been contacted through telephone calls, fliers, social media and text messages with claims that President Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills. To receive the money, scammers claim they need the consumer’s social security and bank routing numbers. In return, customers are given a fraudulent bank routing number to pay their utility bills through the automated telephone payment service. The payment service initially accepts the payment, but then declines it within a few days when the bank account number is discovered to be fake.
The BBB has these tips to avoid becoming a victim of this scam:
- Never provide your social security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone who calls you, regardless of whom they claim to represent.
- If you receive a call claiming to be your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill. Midwest Energy Cooperative members and Midwest Propane customers can call 800-492-5989.
- Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification. All Midwest employees carry company-issued identification.
- Always think safety first. Do not give in to high pressure tactics for information, either over the phone or in person.
For more information visit www.BBB.org/us.
Midwest Energy Cooperative is a member-owned electric utility providing electric distribution and an assortment of energy-related programs and services to more than 35,000 customers in 11 counties in southern Michigan and northern Indiana and Ohio.
Source: News release from Midwest Energy Cooperative