– Submitted by I&M
It’s the season to be cheerful – and be especially aware of scammers.
Today, November 16, is Utility Scam Awareness Day. Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) partners with other utilities across the country to raise awareness of the schemes used by scammers and how you can avoid being scammed.
Increasingly, scammers are using more advanced tactics to target utility customers, including electricity, gas, water, and more. In most cases, scammers contact a utility customer by phone, email, or in person, claiming that the customer is behind in paying their bill. They usually threaten that the customer’s service will be disconnected if the customer does not pay immediately. Scammers often demand a bank transfer or gift card. Sometimes they prompt customers to purchase a prepaid debit card and use the card to make payment. Once funds are used, they cannot be reversed.
I&M wants customers to know that our employees NEVER call customers demanding immediate payment. I&M does NOT disconnect the service without prior notice. I&M employees and contractors always carry appropriate identification, such as a photo badge.
Customers must use one of the authorized methods of paying your invoice. Make payments online only at IndianaMichiganPower.com; by email; through the I&M mobile app; in authorized payment locations; or by calling I&M at 800-311-4634 (Indiana) or 800-311-6424 (Michigan).
If someone demands immediate payment of an invoice, do the following:
- To slow down. Scammers often try to rush customers. They may request personal information in addition to immediate payment.
- Check. The scammers pose as employees of a utility company. If the scammer is on the phone, make sure they can verify they are with the utility or they can verify your account information. If you are unsure, hang up and contact I&M directly using the information on your most recent bill or on the I&M website. Keep in mind that scammers are increasingly using “spoofed” numbers that make it look like their call is coming from a legitimate company.
- Stop before you act. Consider what information the caller is asking you for. If it seems dangerous or incorrect, rethink the situation and ask questions.
“At Indiana Michigan Power, we truly value our customers and don’t want them to fall victim to ruthless con artists,” said Nick Elkins, I&M director of customer services and business development. “We encourage our customers to be wary whenever they are asked to pay their bill immediately. We want everyone in the areas served by I&M to have a safe and enjoyable holiday season, including being safe from scammers.