Posted: Jul 10, 2013 3:17 PM by KBZK Media Center
Updated: Jul 10, 2013 3:18 PM
NorthWestern Energy is warning customers about a scam involving collection on allegedly overdue utility bills.
A customer received a call from a person, claiming to be a NorthWestern Energy employee, demanding bill payment. The customer was told that if immediate payment wasn't made, utility service would be terminated.
The customer bought a $300 prepaid debit card and shared the card's redemption information with the scammer. A similar attempt targeting a NorthWestern customer in Butte was also reported this week. In May, a business owner in Bozeman lost $1,000 in a nearly identical scam.
The activity appears to be the latest version of a scam that has targeted a number of NorthWestern customers this year. Across the nation, other utilities have reported similar scam activity. The phone callers typically seek immediate payment of "overdue" utility bills, often demanding credit-card numbers or other form of payment that can be converted to cash.
NorthWestern will provide several past-due notices before terminating service. If you get a cancellation notification, the company recommends always verifying it by calling 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.