MidAmerican Energy customers this past week reported a higher-than-average number of utility scam incidents that collectively resulted in several thousand dollars in losses.
A news release from MidAmerican says with the extreme cold that’s forecast for the area the next few days, the company is concerned the number of victims may increase further as scammers take advantage of customers who fear losing electric service just as temperatures plummet.
The utility imposter scam is the most common utility scam. It begins with a phone call from someone who claims they’re with MidAmerican, and that for some reason the company did not receive payment, and they threaten to shut off utility service unless the customer agrees to their demand to pay immediately by phone. Scammers often seek payment through reloadable money cards, digital payment apps, money wire transfers or even gift cards, such as Amazon or iTunes cards. Beyond seeking card numbers, some scammers also seek their victims’ bank account numbers and withdraw money directly.
If you are a MidAmerican customer who is past due, your bill will show the amount. Customers may also receive a letter or disconnect notice. In cases of potential disconnections due to nonpayment, MidAmerican will always send a disconnection notice and will attempt to call prior to a disconnection. In some cases, MidAmerican will also leave a final notification at the customer’s door.
MidAmerican accepts many forms of payment but does not demand a specific payment method by phone. MidAmerican will never ask for payment via a gift card.
If you suspect anything is unusual about a phone call from someone who identifies themselves as a MidAmerican employee, simply hang up the phone. Do not call the number that appears on caller ID or that the caller provides – even if it seems legitimate. Call the MidAmerican number that appears on your monthly bill or on the company website at MidAmericanEnergy.com. That number is 888-427-5632.
If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to your local law enforcement agency and you can also report it to MidAmerican online or by phone.