A phone call scam has been going around lately where callers pretend to be from We Energies. They may manipulate caller ID to display “We Energies” or use a recording that sounds like it’s from the electricity and natural gas company.
The caller may say you haven’t paid your bills, threaten to turn off your power or natural gas in a short amount of time and demand immediate payment, often by prepaid debit card or another unusual payment method, such as Bitcoin.
Grace Atherton, communications director of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, said this scam is “very common” and it “goes around every so often.” The issue was one of the top calls the DATCP’s Consumer Protection Hotline received in May, she said.
Atherton provided the following information via email:
Utility companies will contact you by mail if your account is overdue. They may also call you if your services are at risk of being terminated, but they will never demand immediate payment over the phone. If a caller demands a utility payment by prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer, it is a scam.
How to protect yourself:
- Regardless of your utility provider, if you receive a threatening call about your home or business utility account, just hang up and do not engage the caller.
- If you want to verify whether the caller is legitimate, hang up and contact the utility provider directly using information from your billing statement. You can also contact your utility provider directly to report the call.
- Consumers can contact DATCP’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-422-7128, DATCPHotline@wisconsin.gov or online at
- for more consumer protection resources and tips.
We Energies says on its Scam Warnings portion of its website that if customers think scammers are targeting them, to call We Energies at 800-242-9137. If you fall victim to a scam, report the theft to the police.
We Energies will never require use of a prepaid debit card or unusual payment method. The company also says to hang up and call We Energies if you suspect the call might be illegitimate.
“If it is a real call, we won’t be offended. We can verify your payment status and check on your account anytime,” We Energies says on its website. “We typically contact you several times via mail about past-due bills before service is shut off — not by a phone call the same day.”
Mugshots: Racine County criminal complaints, June 10
Today's mugshots: June 10
These are images of people charged with a crime in Racine County. Booking photos are provided by Racine County law enforcement officials. A defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty and convicted.
Christopher George Reitzenstein
NO PHOTO AVAILABLE
Christopher George Reitzenstein, 100 block of South Summerset Drive, Mount Pleasant, attempting to flee or elude an officer, first degree recklessly endangering safety, possession of THC.
Amarion M Coleman-Young
Amarion M Coleman-Young, 800 block of Main Street, Racine, stalking (domestic abuse assessments), misdemeanor bail jumping (domestic abuse assessments), knowingly violate a domestic abuse injunction (domestic abuse assessments), misdemeanor battery (domestic abuse assessments), criminal trespass.
Camila M Gomez
Camila M Gomez, 100 block of 22nd Avenue, Racine, misdemeanor retail theft (intentionally take less than or equal to $500), misdemeanor bail jumping, criminal trespass, obstructing an officer.
Bryan J Krueger
Bryan J Krueger, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, assault by prisoners, interference with fire fighting (equipment), criminal damage to property, disorderly conduct.
Leon A Carter Jr.
Leon A Carter Jr., 2000 block of Center Street, Racine, felony retail theft (intentionally take between $500-$5,000), obstructing an officer, felony bail jumping, misdemeanor bail jumping.
Rachel M Hein
Rachel M Hein, 5900 block of 16th Street, Mount Pleasant, possession of narcotic drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia.
Blake S Johnson
Blake S Johnson, 1300 block of Arthur Avenue, Racine, possession of narcotic drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia.
Jose M Martinez
Jose M Martinez, 4300 block of Kennedy Drive, Racine, misdemeanor battery (domestic abuse assessments), disorderly conduct (domestic abuse assessments).
Parnell L McCray
Parnell L McCray, 2000 block of Saint Clair Street, Racine, possession with intent to deliver cocaine (between 1-5 grams, possession with intent to deliver/distribute a controlled substance on or near a park), possession with intent to deliver/distribute/manufacture THC (between 200-1,000 grams, possession with intent to deliver/distribute a controlled substance on or near a park), manufacture/deliver THC (between 200-1,000 grams, possession with intent to deliver/distribute a controlled substance on or near a park), maintaining a drug trafficking place (possession with intent to deliver/distribute a controlled substance on or near a park), neglecting a child (specified harm did not occur and child under 6 years of age).
Earl C Yoakum
Earl C Yoakum, 5900 block of 16th Street, Mount Pleasant, disorderly conduct, felony bail jumping, misdemeanor bail jumping.
Ryan L Carter
Ryan L Carter, Kansasville, Wisconsin, attempt first degree intentional homicide (domestic abuse assessments), aggravated battery (domestic abuse assessments), false imprisonment (domestic abuse assessments), attempt strangulation and suffocation (domestic abuse assessments), misdemeanor bail jumping (domestic abuse assessments), disorderly conduct.