BY PCC STAFF
FORT MADISON – Alliant Energy has received a record number of customers reporting scam phone calls. Customers also report that scammers are getting better at impersonating utilities. The company received a few complaints that some are sending text messages or coming right to your door.
From January 2016 to November 2017, Alliant received on average 53 contacts per month reporting scam activity.
Since December 1, 2017, it has has received 416 reports of scam phone calls. Of these:
- 150 have come from Wisconsin customers
- 265 have come from Iowa customers
Roughly 75 percent of complaints come from business customers. The rest are from residential customers.
Typically, scammers call customers claiming to represent Alliant Energy. They threaten to disconnect utility service if the customer doesn’t immediately buy a prepaid credit card to make a payment.
In one case, a customer reported receiving a text message from someone stating that they work for Alliant Energy and needed a call about their bill.
Alliant Energy does not request immediate payment or prepaid credit cards. It also does not threaten to disconnect service via text message. We recently began offering account alerts by text as an optional service. Customers must sign-up to receive them. They are informational only, providing reminders of when the bill is due.
If you receive a call like this:
- STOP: Scammers are counting on people being too alarmed to verify their account status. Do not give in to high-pressure call tactics! Stop the conversation. Hang up the phone.
- THINK: Chances are you do not owe the amount the scammers claim. You know your account status best. Think about whether the scammer’s claim about your account sounds true.
- CALL: Call us to verify your actual account status. If you have a remaining balance, we can tell you the amount and when it is due. Let us put your mind at ease. You can reach us at 1-800-ALLIANT. You can also monitor your account online by visiting com/myaccount or through Alliant Energy’s new Mobile App. Text ‘APP’ to 255255 and download now, or visit the Apple Store or Google Play.
Beware that scammers can spoof caller-ID displays, which means they can mask the call’s true origin and make it appear as if it the call is coming from a utility company.
Customers should report attempted scam contacts to local law enforcement.