Xcel Energy warns Minnesota customers about new billing scams
July 11, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS — Xcel Energy is warning customers of increased incidences of scams targeting residential and business customers. Since January, more than 120 scams have been reported in the utility’s Upper Midwest territory. The scams typically involve attempts to illegally obtain payments for fictitious utility bills.
Individuals impersonating Xcel Energy employees or collection agency personnel are using a variety of techniques to gain access to customers’ funds, usually by indicating a customer has an outstanding debt and is about to lose service:
• The impersonator directs the customer to go to a local retailer and purchase a pre-paid cash card. The impersonator then persuades the customer to provide the card number over the phone.
• Impersonator requests payments over the phone by credit card or personal check.
• Impersonator provides a fake employee name and/or a fake ID number, and offers to come to the customer’s residence to pick up the payment.
• Impersonator arrives at a customer’s home and tells the customer that the meter is broken and immediate payment is needed for repairs.
Xcel Energy reminds customers to only use authorized methods to pay their bills. Credit card numbers and any personal information should not be provided to suspicious callers. Affected customers should call Xcel Energy customer services at 1-800-895-4999 and report any scamming incident to their local police departments.
Xcel Energy is also recommending that if a customer has given credit card information over the phone to someone posing as an Xcel Energy employee, the customer should call his or her credit card company and follow the credit card company’s recommendations.
For more information visit: “Protect your Information” web page.