Columbus, Neb. – As Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) works to install new, upgraded digital meters around the state, scammers are trying to take advantage of customers by threatening them with shutting off their power.
NPPD received several reports Wednesday of scammers calling both NPPD customers and customers of other public power districts across the state to try and extort money. The scammers pose as an NPPD representative and tell the customers they will shut off their power if they do not pay hundreds of dollars for their “new” meter.
“NPPD is currently in the process of installing digital meters in several communities across the state, and there is no charge to the customer when this work is done,” says NPPD Vice-President and General Manager of Retail Tim Arlt. “Anyone who receives such a call should not let their guard down and should contact our team and law enforcement immediately. Protecting our customers is a top priority.”
NPPD is currently installing meters in the Scottsbluff area, and NPPD has received a report of a customer in that area being targeted by this scam.
These predatory individuals state the bill must be paid immediately or the power will be shut off and will recommend several methods of payment. Sometimes the scammer’s caller-identification is falsified so it appears to originate from the utility company, a practice known as ‘spoofing’.
To help customers be wary of such scams, NPPD offers the following tips and suggestions:
- NPPD, as a business practice, does not call to ask customers for a credit card number.
- NPPD does not demand payment with a pre-paid card.
- Any customer receiving such a call should not attempt to make payment over the phone using a credit or debit card.
- Write down the call back number or consider asking where the caller is located.
- Contact law enforcement.
- Let NPPD’s Centralized Customer Care Center at 1-877-ASK-NPPD (877-275-6773) know about the call.
- If served electrically by a rural public power district or municipality, customers should contact that organization before providing any type of payment.