Marquette – Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) today joined other utilities from across the United States to raise awareness about scams targeting utility customers as part of the inaugural Utilities United Against Scams Day. The event is being supported by a week-long advocacy and awareness campaign focused on exposing the tactics scammers use to steal money from utility customers and on educating customers on how to protect themselves.
How Scams Can Work
- A person calls a residential or business customer and says he or she is from UPPCO. The person calling may know your name and address and claim to have more information regarding your account.
- Your caller may claim you are behind on your utility bill payment and are subject to immediate disconnection. They may indicate you need upgrades to your utility equipment and claim immediate payment is due to avoid disconnection.
- You may receive instructions to visit a nearby store and purchase a pre-paid credit card, money order or money pack card. The caller leaves you with a phone number and instructs you to call them back and provide them with the numbers on the credit card you purchased. Once you give them the card numbers, the money is gone.
- The scammers are very smart and can apply pressure if you start to ask questions. They may also use technology to make it look as if the call is coming from a local number or even the utility company. Be cautious if you receive a suspicious phone call of this nature.
What To Do If You Receive a Suspicious Call
- Write down any information the caller provides to you. Take note of the call date and time, phone number to call back and/or caller ID, and any details revealed to you by the caller. DO NOT provide any private information, account or banking information. Never dial the phone number the scammers provide. Hang up.
- Call UPPCO at 800-562-7680 if you receive a suspicious call. UPPCO can verify if a call was made to you from the utility and/or verify your account status.
- UPPCO will never ask you to pay your bill with a prepaid credit card. If we leave you a message or contact you, we will ask to speak to the person whose name is listed on the account. However, if you call us, we will ask for some personal information to confirm your identity. This is for your protection. If a customer is behind on their bill, they would have received several mailed notices in advance of any telephone contact by UPPCO.
For more information, visit uppco.com and click on Your Home/Safety/Scam Warning.