RACINE COUNTY — If you receive a call from someone claiming to be affiliated with We Energies, don’t assume there is a problem with your utility bill — it may be a scam attempt.
We Energies received approximately 450 reports of scam-related phone calls over the past year, but the frequency of reports has started to increase over the last few months, according to We Energies spokeswoman Cathy Schulze.
“We had seen a previous spike and then it kind of slowed down and we weren’t seeing as many new reports,” she said. “More recently it seems the scammers have taken things to a different level.”
According to We Energies’ warnings posted on its website and blog, the scammers are calling customers and convincing them to buy prepaid debit cards and give them the information over the phone. The scammer often claims that the customer is behind on a bill payment or at risk of disconnection.
Another scam tactic is to tell the customer there is a malfunctioning electric meter that could cause a fire or explosion.
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“We do not solicit payment from customers over the phone in this manner,” Schulze said. “We would never suggest that a person get a prepaid card and then give us the number over the phone.”
Schulze said that the scammers seem to be particularly targeting We Energies’ Hispanic customers and that the company is reaching out to organizations to help get the word out to Spanish-speaking customers.
If you receive a suspicious call from someone claiming to be affiliated with We Energies, Schulze advises hanging up and calling customer service at (800) 242-9137, where you can determine if the call was a scam, check account status and verify payment history.