NorthWestern Energy Warns of Convincing Scammers
NorthWestern released the following information and is warning customers about a scam.
The utility company is warning customers about reported incidents in Montana of scams involving callers fraudulently claiming to be representing NorthWestern Energy and threatening to shut-off service unless immediate payment is made on utility bills.
More than 80 incidents have been reported to the NorthWestern Energy Customer Care Center as of Wednesday morning.
“The scammers are telling people their electricity or gas service will be cut off in 30 seconds if payment isn’t made,” said Terri Lewis, NorthWestern Energy Customer Care Supervisor in Butte, Mont. “They are nice at first and then get upset when people ask questions. They are very convincing.”
NorthWestern Energy is reminding customers to be vigilant when it comes to anyone seeking payment information on utility bills in person, the telephone or online.
The scammers typically tell customers that their electric or natural gas bill is overdue and service will be shut off if payment is not made quickly. In some cases, they tell potential victims to purchase pre-paid debit or cash cards sold at retail outlets and to call the scammers with the relevant numbers that allow the cards to be redeemed quickly.
“We’ve also heard reports that the scammers are telling people they need to change their meter and there is a charge,” Lewis said. “That is not true.” If you think you have received a scam collection call, it is very helpful if you make note of the phone number and share it with NorthWestern customer service representatives. Having such phone numbers can help thwart future scam calls.
Customers with questions or concerns about potential scams should contact NorthWestern Energy to report concerns or questionable calls. Montana customers can contact NorthWestern at (888) 467-2669.
NorthWestern reminds customers that the company does not call customers to demand immediate payment of past-due bills.
The utility will provide multiple past-due notices before terminating service. If you get a cancellation notification, always verify it by dialing the customer service number on your utility bill. Don’t supply any personal information unless you are sure you are indeed working with the utility. NorthWestern never asks customers to use a prepaid debit card for payment.