FOUNTAIN, Colo. - Black Hills Energy says someone tried to ripoff one of it's customers by pretending to be an employee of the utility company.
The victim of the attempted scam says someone called him, identified themselves as a Black Hills employee, and told him his account was past due. The would-be scammer told the man he needed to make a payment immediately to bring his account current. The scammer then told the man to go to a local store and buy a cash card, and that someone would be by his house later to pick it up.
"Our customers need to be mindful of this fraud and know that Black Hills will never ask a customer to pay their bill this way," said Susan Bailey, general manager of Black Hills Energy's Colorado Gas operations. "Additionally, a company employee engaged in official business would be driving a company-logoed vehicle and would wear a company-issued photo-identification badge."
If you are suspicious of someone claiming to represent a utility, contact your utility provider using the phone number on your monthly bill or the utility's website. Your utility can confirm the legitimacy of the claim and can also confirm bill payments, service work, or a service call to any address. It's important to know that scammers can cause caller-ID displays to mimic legitimate companies, making it appear as if the call is coming from the utility.
Black Hills offers the following safety tips:
- Do not provide your Social Security number, credit card numbers, or bank account information to anyone who requests that information during an unsolicited phone call or an unannounced visit.
- If someone calls claiming they represent your local utility provider and they demand immediate payment or personal information, hang up and call the customer service number on your utility bill. Do not give in to a high-pressure call seeking personal information.
- Never allow anyone into your home for an unannounced visit to check your electrical wiring, cable or phone lines, natural gas pipes, or your appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or are aware of a confirmed problem. Anytime a utility employee arrives at your door, require the employee to produce proper identification, and do not be afraid of confirming the visit with the utility company via phone call.
- Black Hills Energy employees carry company-issued photo identification at all times and would be happy to have you contact our customer service number listed to verify their identity.
Black Hills Energy says anyone with concerns or questions about its employees should call the company's emergency number, 800-694-8989. Customer service associates are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week.