DES MOINES — Several MidAmerican Energy customers are being targeted over the phone by scammers, who are posing as utility employees and threatening to shut off power unless the customer makes a payment over the phone with a prepaid debit card. Customers receiving these calls should hang up the phone immediately.
In these most recent calls, scammers have targeted commercial customers as the holiday shopping season winds up. Nonetheless, scammers can target anyone at any time of year, so all customers should be on the lookout. Scammers are persistent and aggressive. They use sophisticated methods to trick customers, which can include:
• Spoofing Caller ID to make the call appear as if it is coming from the utility.
• Requiring customers to make an immediate payment using a prepaid (Green Dot) card.
• Impersonating energy auditors in an attempt to get inside homes or businesses.
• Intimidating customers by showing up at their front doors or claiming a crew is en route to disconnect service.
• Claiming there is an issue with electric or natural gas service equipment inside or outside the house and requesting immediate payment.
Customers who receive a suspicious call should hang up and call local police and their energy provider to report the scam and check the status of their account. Customers can check their balance online using My Account at midamericanenergy.com or by calling MidAmerican Energy at 888-427-5632.
Protecting customers from scams is a top priority for MidAmerican Energy. If customers are behind on bills, they will receive several notifications; disconnection is a last resort, not a first step in the process. MidAmerican Energy accepts many different forms of payment; a specific payment method is never required when paying your bill.
Customers should follow these steps to stay safe:
• Never give out personal information such as credit card or account numbers. Utilities will not ask for this information over the phone.
• Beware of any caller who asks you to pay with a prepaid (Green Dot) debit card. MidAmerican Energy does not accept this type of payment.
• Ask for proper identification from anyone who approaches you claiming to be from a service provider. Call the service provider directly to verify the purpose for the visit. Use the number published on your monthly bill or the company’s website.
For more information, visit midamericanenergy.com/scams. The Consumer Protection Division of the Iowa Attorney General’s office has also set up a hotline with more information on the scam at 515-725-5387.