(Omaha, NE) -- Omaha Public Power District is warning customers about scams making the rounds following the recent power outages.
OPPD says they've started receiving customer reports of phone calls from scammers, posing as utility employees. The Power District says oftentimes, big news about weather events and power outages spark an increase in scam calls. They say scammers appear to be trying to take advantage of customers who are already feeling vulnerable, as tens of thousands are still without power.
Often, the scammers use “spoofing” technology so that caller identification appears to show a legitimate OPPD phone number. In most cases, they try to convince a customer they owe on their bill and they need to pay up immediately over the phone or risk disconnection. In some cases, they falsely claim that customers need to pay for equipment, such as meters. They try to get their targets to give up credit, debit or pre-paid card of some sort over the phone.
OPPD warns these callers do not represent the utility and that they never cold calls customers demanding payment. Additionally, OPPD is not currently disconnecting power for non-payment, given the challenges so many customers are facing right now. This moratorium will extend through July 26th.
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.
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.