NorthWestern Energy Issues New Alert About Collection Scams
NorthWestern Energy is again warning customers about a scam involving collection of allegedly overdue utility bills. So far, only those in Great Falls and Helena have been targeted but all NorthWestern Energy customers should be on high alert. Details here.
More than 30 customers have reported suspicious calls to NorthWestern. At least two customers have made payments to the scammers using pre-paid debit cards purchased at Albertsons and Safeway stores. The cards are also available at other retailers. The two customers lost nearly $2,000 to the scammers.
While most of the activity seems to be centered in Great Falls and Helena, there have been reports of similar calls in other Montana communities as well.
Variations of the collection scam have been making the rounds across Montana cities and the nation over the past several years. The scam artists demand immediate payment and threaten to cut utility service. They tell customers to purchase the cards and then provide them the number, allowing them to take the money.
The scammers can be very convincing and often use "spoofing" technology that makes it appear that the call is coming from NorthWestern Energy.
NorthWestern reminds customers to be vigilant when it comes to anyone seeking payment information on utility bills, either in person or via the telephone or Internet.
NorthWestern will provide several 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.
Customers with questions or concerns about potential scams are advised to contact NorthWestern Energy and report concerns or questionable calls. Montana customers can contact NorthWestern at (888) 467-2669. In Nebraska and South Dakota, customers should call (800) 245-6977.