MidAmerican Energy News
MEDIA ALERT: Phone scams strike Quad Cities businesses
DES MOINES, Iowa – (Oct. 27, 2014) – MidAmerican Energy Company and local police departments are warning business owners in the Quad Cities to beware of phone scammers posing as utility employees and threatening service disconnection in an attempt to swindle funds.
Within the past few days, several Quad City businesses have reported receiving calls from people identifying themselves as representatives of MidAmerican Energy. The caller demands immediate payment of a past-due account to avoid disconnection of natural gas or electric service. The caller instructs the business owner to purchase a Green Dot prepaid debit card for a specific amount and call back with the serial number from the card. The business owner is told if he or she does not comply with this instruction, utility service will be disconnected within the hour.
Some business owners noted that even though they found the circumstances suspicious, they went ahead and made the payments because the caller was very insistent and persuasive. It was only after the fact, when they contacted MidAmerican Energy directly, that they realized they had been scammed.
MidAmerican Energy wants to help businesses avoid falling victim to payment scams. If a business customer receives a demand call from someone claiming to represent MidAmerican Energy, the customer should hang up and call the company directly to check on the status of the account. The business customer service number is located on the home page of the company’s website: www.midamericanenergy.com. Don’t call the phone number provided to you by the caller; always look up the number yourself, then call.
Some tips to help businesses recognize a scam call:
• The caller is threatening immediate disconnection.
Sometimes the caller will claim a crew is already en route to the business to disconnect service. If you receive such a call, hang up immediately and call MidAmerican Energy customer service. MidAmerican Energy makes several attempts to contact customers regarding overdue bills; disconnection is a last resort, not a first step in the process.
• The caller insists on a prepaid debit card (often a Green Dot card) as the only acceptable form of payment.
MidAmerican Energy accepts several different forms of payment; a company customer service representative can go over your options with you.
• The caller asks you for credit card numbers, account numbers, balances or other personal information.
MidAmerican Energy representatives will not ask you for this information over the phone.
MidAmerican Energy Company provides electric service to 739,000 customers and natural gas service to 719,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. It is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available on the company’s website, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, which can be accessed via www.midamericanenergy.com