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MidAmerican Energy News

MidAmerican Energy tracks scam reports to help customers avoid losses

DES MOINES, Iowa – (Feb. 12, 2015) – Phone scams targeting utility customers don’t appear to be going away any time soon, according to new data from MidAmerican Energy Company.

MidAmerican Energy said nearly 1,500 customers contacted the utility to report receiving a suspect call in 2014. Of that number, only three percent reported losing money or disclosing personal information to the scammer. The vast majority of customers who said they received scam calls did not provide information to the scammer, hung up, and called MidAmerican Energy’s customer service number to report the scam attempt.

“The good news is, most people are recognizing the signs and not falling victim to these scams,” said Terry Ousley, vice president, customer satisfaction for MidAmerican Energy. “The bad news is, scammers continue to strike, and it’s unfortunate anytime a customer loses money or personal information.”

According to the reports received by MidAmerican Energy, half of the customers who reported making a payment or disclosing information to the scammer were residential customers, and half were small businesses, such as restaurants, churches, convenience stores and beauty shops.

Most of the scams involve persistent callers claiming to work for MidAmerican Energy and demanding money by threatening immediate service disconnection. The criminal advises the customer to make a payment over the phone by calling back a special toll-free number, which often resembles MidAmerican Energy’s phone response system.

“Scammers rely on fear and urgency and can often be aggressive - techniques MidAmerican Energy does not employ,” said Ousley. “Our hope is to bring awareness to the prevalence of scams in an effort to fight back. We want our customers to be aware and know the signs.”

Thieves often use sophisticated tactics that make it appear to Caller ID systems that the scam call is coming from the utility when it is not. If you receive a call threatening immediate disconnection, hang up immediately and call MidAmerican Energy customer service at 1-888-427-5632 to verify the legitimacy of the call. MidAmerican Energy makes several attempts to contact customers regarding overdue bills; disconnection is a last resort, not a first step in the process.

Never give out personal information, such as credit card numbers, account numbers or balances. MidAmerican Energy representatives will not ask for this information over the phone.

Sometimes, the caller insists on a credit card or 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.

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 MidAmerican Energy Company's website.