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OPPD says snowstorm may increase utility scam calls

Posted: 11:54 AM, Jan 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-18 17:54:23Z
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OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Omaha Public Power Districtsays trhey have received an increased number of customer calls Friday because of scam phone calls.

As of 10:30 a.m., OPPD totaled 40 reports of attempts to con customers out of money. They expected that number to climb.

OPPD believes it's due to the pending snow storm for our area. The utility company says they’ve seen increases in the past during or after a severe weather event. They say callers are trying to take advantage of vulnerable customers.

The trick the scammers are using is a technology where caller identification appears to show an OPPD phone number. The con artists pretend to be utility employees and demand payments from customers that they claim are overdue. Sometimes, they falsely claim customers need to pay for equipment, such as meters.

The scammers’ will try to get credit, debit or checking account information from customers, or to get them to purchase a pre-paid debit card from a nearby store and relay those numbers. They threaten to disconnect service if customers do not pay.

OPPD says they do not cold-calls customers demanding immediate payment.