Jun 26, 2013 2:06 PM by Elaine Sheridan

Black Hills warns of possible scam

Black Hills Energy is warning customers about a scam where people are saying they work for the company, and they are demanding money.

A customer reported that they received a call from a person identifying themselves as a Black Hills Energy employee. They told him he was past due on his account, and needed to make an immediate payment. The fraudulent caller then instructed the customer to go to a local store and get a green dot (cash card) and a man would be by later to pick up the payment.

"Our customers need to be mindful of this fraud and know that Black Hills will never ask a customer to pay their bill this way," said Susan Bailey, General Manager of Black Hills Energy's Colorado Gas operations.

Similar incidents have been reported across Colorado in recent months where the fraudulent caller directed the customer to pay a specified amount by purchasing a "green card" from a convenience store or their utility services would be disconnected. The caller then picked up the cash card at the customer's home.

While these scams often start with different stories and involve various utility providers, the way to avoid falling victim are usually the same. If you are suspicious of someone claiming to represent a utility, contact your utility provider using the phone number on your monthly bill or the utility's website.

If someone calls claiming they represent your local utility provider and they demand immediate payment or personal information, hang up and call the customer service number on your utility bill. Do not give in to a high-pressure call seeking personal information.

Also Never allow anyone into your home for an unannounced visit to check your electrical wiring, cable or phone lines, natural gas pipes, or your appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or are aware of a confirmed problem. Anytime a utility employee arrives at your door, require the employee to produce proper identification, and do not be afraid of confirming the visit with the utility company via phone call.

"Additionally, a company employee engaged in official business would be driving a company-logoed vehicle and would wear a company-issued photo-identification badge," Bailey says.



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