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Utility scam call reports picking up again

(MGN Online)

Omaha Public Power District is seeing another uptick in the number of scam call reports.

Over the past few days, the district has received nearly 50 reports from customers who have received such phone calls.

The scammers may even use “spoofing” technology so that caller identification appears to show a legitimate OPPD phone number.

They aggressively insist customers pay up on allegedly overdue bills, or pony up money for equipment they claim needs to be replaced.

The con artists demand numbers from a payment card of some sort, usually telling customers to go purchase a Green Dot payment card from a nearby store.

They threaten to disconnect service if customers do not pay quickly.

In a couple of recent reports, scammers have accepted credit or debit card numbers for payment. This is unusual and may or may not be tied to the efforts to get customers to purchase payment cards. Scammers have been targeting utility customers across the country for years. It tends to peak several times a year.

The latest round of calls have been targeting both residential and business customers. OPPD stresses that none of these people demanding payments or financial information works for the utility.

OPPD advises customers:

  • Never give personal or financial information to a stranger during an unsolicited phone call.
  • If such a person should appear unannounced at one’s door, claiming to work for the utility, do not allow them inside. Always ask for identification or verification. OPPD employees always carry identification. Failure to produce identification should be a tip-off to the customer that something is wrong.
  • Never turn off security systems for any reason if a stranger asks. Any customer who receives such a request should call law enforcement immediately.

Customers with questions about making a payment, or about their account in general, should always call OPPD directly. Within Omaha, the number is 402-536-4131.

Customers in our rural areas may talk with their local offices during business hours, as well.

Outside of Omaha, customers should call 1-877-536-4131.

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