LANSING, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – On Wednesday, Attorney General Dana Nessel issued an urgent consumer alert to Michigan residents in response to recent imposter scams related to DTE Energy.
DTE Energy reported that it recently became aware of calls being made to customers by someone claiming to be a DTE employee.
The scammer was notifying customers of a power shutoff and requesting payment by bitcoin or preloaded money card to avoid shutoff. When a return call was made to the number shown on the customer’s caller ID, the attorney general’s office says the customer was greeted by a convincing spoof of a DTE employee who would appear to help the customer avoid a shutoff.
While consumers are targeted by utility imposter scams every day, this year is worse as a result of COVID-19, the attorney general’s office said.
“Some bad actors are using the ongoing pandemic to their full advantage to scam Michigan residents,” Nessel said. “It’s important to remember that utility companies will never call, email, or show up unannounced to demand payment or threaten shutoff. Don’t give in to the bullying or threats of a scammer – call your utility company directly from a phone number available on their website or listed on your utility bill.”
Scammers can be convincing and often target the most vulnerable, including senior citizens and low-income families.
DTE Energy and other utility companies will never:
- Solicit personal information for a government program that claims to reduce energy bills.
- Visit your home to collect a bill or threaten shutoff.
- Show up unannounced at a customer’s home to inspect or repair equipment, investigate a leak or do a free audit for energy efficiency.
- Request immediate payment, instructing customer to purchase a prepaid debit card, or any form of unusual payment.
- Request personal or financial information, such as Social Security number, utility account number or payment information.
- Claim a customer is entitled to a refund or rebate asking for bank account or credit card information to make the alleged refund.
- Use aggressive tactics to get into a customer’s home.
The attorney general’s office says if you suspect you have been contacted by an imposter, call 800-477-4747 to speak to a customer representative who can confirm the status of your account.
You may also file a complaint online with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team or call 877-765-8388.
MORE FROM CBS DETROIT: 25 New Coronavirus Outbreaks Reported In Michigan Schools Monday
MORE FROM CBS DETROIT: Student Found Dead At Grand Valley State University Was Freshman
© 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.