OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - The Omaha Public Power District says more customers are receiving phone calls from scammers who say their power will be shut off within 30 minutes for failure to pay bills.
"This is a national scam. However, recent headlines about our regional power issues may have sparked the latest round of calls in our area," OPPD said in a release. "Utilities often see a spike in calls after severe weather or other power-related events, when customers may feel the most vulnerable."
According to OPPD, many of the recent calls have been automated messages left by a caller pretending to be an employee. The message says power will be disconnected in 30 minutes if customers do not call back to pay their bills.
OPPD stresses that those callers are not affiliated with them. OPPD never cold calls customers demanding payment. OPPD said if you receive such a call, hang up, and call them directly at 402-536-4131. Outside of Omaha, customers can call 1-877-536-4131, toll-free.
OPPD said the scammers use “spoofing” technology so that caller identification appears to show a legitimate OPPD number. In some cases, scammers have falsely claimed that customers need to pay for equipment, such as meters.
Scammers also try to get their targets to give up credit, debit or pre-paid card info over the phone.
OPPD advises customers:
- Never give personal or financial information to a stranger during an unsolicited phone call, whether live or automated.
- Be suspicious of any emails you receive regarding your utility bill if you have not opted in to online communications from OPPD. Never provide personal information via email, and do not click on suspicious links.
- Do not respond to text messages seeking personal information or utility bill payments or click on links within such messages.