Beware Power Scams
Rocky Mountain Power has issued a warning about illegal money scams involving it's customers. Here is the official release...
Rocky Mountain Power is warning the public of a phone scam targeting its customers with criminals posing as utility customer service agents trying to steal money and personal information. According to Leslie Blythe, Rocky Mountain Power’s manager in Casper, local customers are not immune from these scams. In a recent incident, a Casper business owner unfortunately fell prey to the deception.
“Recently a business owner here in Casper responded when crooks called threatening to cut off electricity to the business in 20 minutes unless they ‘made a payment immediately.’ Unfortunately the threat caught the business owner off guard and they gave money to the thieves following the scammers’ instructions,” Blythe said. “Shortly after the incident, the owner realized they had been robbed.”
This kind of fraud is occurring nationwide, including in the Rocky Mountain Power service area. Some thieves even use sophisticated tactics that sometimes make it appear to caller ID systems that the scam call is coming from the utility even when it is not. If customers receive such a call, the best advice is to hang up and call the company at 1-888-221-7070 to verify the call’s origins.
Rocky Mountain Power call center agents can be reached any time, day or night, toll free at 1-888-221-7070. That is the only number to call if you suspect a call might be a scam.
In addition, a new person-to-person approach has developed lately, where thieves work in pairs. One of the thieves dresses like a utility worker and approaches a resident saying they are working on an emergency in the area and asking permission to enter the home to do work. The partner thief then enters and steals property while the owner is distracted.
“Our workers will not ask to enter a customer’s home to perform work,” Blythe said. “The company’s equipment is located outside and that’s where our people will be working. Any electrical equipment inside the home is privately owned by the customer, and company workers do not need to have access to that equipment. If someone asks to enter your home, call the company first.”
Blythe explained that even though relatively few customers have had these experiences, any customer being victimized is one too many. Rocky Mountain Power has taken a number of significant steps to address these recurring scams, including working with law enforcement at all levels.
“Working with the FBI, the company has been successful in shutting down some of these scams, but they just keep popping up all over,” Blythe said.
Rocky Mountain Power offers the following checklist for customers to help them spot a scam and avoid becoming a victim.
Rocky Mountain Power will not:
• Demand payment within just a few minutes
• Accept payment at a customer’s door
• Demand that payment be made with a pre-paid card
• Disconnect a customer without first sending a 48-hour notice.
Rocky Mountain Power will:
• Ask you how you would like to pay your bill
• Work out payment arrangements with customers
• Refer a customer to Western Union when the customer wants to pay with a card of any kind
• Send a 48-hour disconnection notice if the account is seriously past due.
Things customers can do to avoid being victimized by thieves running scams:
• Be wary
• Validate any call received – hang up and call Rocky Mountain Power directly at 888-221-7070; ask if there is a problem with their bill
• Don’t feel rushed
• Participate in one of Rocky Mountain Power’s automatic payment plans
• Keep account payments current.
Rocky Mountain Power cautions all customers to never provide unsolicited callers or visitors with credit card numbers or any other information that may compromise their financial security.
Anyone receiving such calls or other contact regarding their utility account or bill is encouraged to pay close attention and note any information – such as the phone number they are asked to call, a number that appears on caller ID, an address where they’re told to send money, etc. – and then immediately notify local police and report the incident to Rocky Mountain Power at 1-888-221-7070.