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MidAmerican Energy News

MEDIA ALERT: Beware of phone scam targeting Des Moines businesses

DES MOINES, Iowa – (June 1, 2015) – MidAmerican Energy Company is warning business owners and the public of a phone scam targeting utility customers in the Des Moines area.

In the last few days, more than 60 businesses in the Des Moines area reported receiving a scam call, the majority of which were small businesses such as coffee shops, restaurants, child care centers, automotive shops, beauty salons, furniture stores and more. Unfortunately, some business owners have reported losing money or disclosing personal information to the scammer.

In general, the scam works like this: scammers, claiming to work for MidAmerican Energy call residential or business customers demanding payment by threatening immediate service disconnection. The thief advises the customer to make a payment in one of two ways: either immediately on the phone via credit card or by calling back a specific number, which often resembles MidAmerican Energy’s phone response system, and paying with a pre-paid (Green Dot) card.

The criminals are often persistent and use sophisticated deceptive tactics that make it appear to Caller ID systems that the scam call is coming from the utility when it is not. They will often impersonate MidAmerican Energy representatives.

MidAmerican Energy wants customers to be aware that this is an outright scam. MidAmerican Energy does not use these methods. If such a call is received, customers should hang up and call 1-888-427-5632 to inquire about the call with MidAmerican Energy.

Three points to help customers recognize a scam call:

1. The caller is threatening immediate disconnection. Sometimes the caller will claim a crew is already en route to the business to disconnect service. Customers should hang up immediately and call MidAmerican Energy. MidAmerican Energy makes several attempts to contact customers regarding overdue bills; disconnection is a last resort, not a first step in the process.

2. 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 these options with customers.

3. The caller asks for credit card numbers, account numbers, balances or other personal information. MidAmerican Energy will not ask you for this information over the phone. Customers should never give out personal information.

Watch MidAmerican Energy’s scam prevention video for more advice on how to protect yourself from fraudulent calls.

About MidAmerican Energy Company
MidAmerican Energy Company provides electric service to 746,000 customers and natural gas service to 726,000 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.