The utility reports some customers have received phone calls from scammers falsely saying their power will be shut off within 30-minutes for failure to pay their bills.
The District says this is a national scam, but recent headlines about regional power issues may have sparked the latest round of calls in our area.
Utilities often see a spike in calls after severe weather or other power-related events, when customers may feel the most vulnerable.
Most of the latest calls have been automated messages left by callers pretending to be employees.
The message states power will be disconnected in a half hour if customers do not call back to settle up.
OPPD says they never cold call customers demanding payment.
If you receive such a call, hang up, and call OPPD directly at 402-536-4131.
Outside of Omaha, customers can call 1-877-536-4131, toll-free.
Often, the scammers use “spoofing” technology so that caller identification appears to show a legitimate OPPD phone number.
In some cases, they have falsely claimed that customers need to pay for equipment, such as meters. They try to get their targets to give up credit, debit or pre-paid cards of some sort over the phone.
OPPD advises customers:
-Never give personal or financial information to a stranger during an unsolicited phone call, whether live or automated.
-Be suspicious of any emails you receive regarding your utility bill if you have not opted in to online communications from OPPD. Never provide personal information via email, and do not click on suspicious links;
-Do not respond to text messages seeking personal information or utility bill payments or click on links within such messages.
(Image from OPPD)