Alert: New scam involves threat to turn off utilities

Imposter claims to be from Consumers Energy

LANSING — Another scam has been going around, this time involving callers impersonating Consumers Energy.

The Michigan Attorney’s General Department has received several complaints of someone cold-calling Consumers Energy customers and threatening to shut off their power if the person doesn’t pay off a balance in 30 minutes.

Know as a utility imposter scam, it attempts to take advantage of the customer’s concern for maintaining electricity or another vital utility. A similar scam targeted DTE Energy customers late last year.

“This is important enough to bear repeating: it is imperative people are aware that bad actors will stop at nothing to scam unsuspecting customers,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “If this Consumer Alert prevents even one Michigander from turning over personal information or money, it will have served its purpose of beating scammers at their own game.”

It’s important to remember Consumers Energy and other utility companies will never:

• Cold-call you and give an ultimatum that your service will be shut off shortly unless you act;

• Visit your home to collect a bill or threaten shutoff;

• Request immediate payment through a prepaid debit card, or any form of unusual payment;

• Request personal or financial information such as a Social Security number; or

• Claim a customer is entitled to a refund or rebate by asking for bank account or credit card information to make the alleged refund.

Scammers are relentless, said Nessel, who earlier this week warned of scammers reaching out to loved ones of COVID-19 victims offering to register them for funeral assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“My department is committed to protecting Michigan residents from bad actors, wherever they are,” she said.

If you suspect you have been contacted by an imposter, you may file a complaint online with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team or call 877-765-8388.