FBI Investigating Utility Bill Scam

MICHIGAN (April 2, 2014) — The FBI is investigating a utility scam that first began more than a year ago.

The scam involves a person calling and threatening to cut off your power if you don’t make an immediate payment. On Wednesday, FOX 17 was contacted by a business owner who said the criminals targeted his store, Malone’s Log Cabin Grocery, by saying they were Consumer’s Energy.

He was out of town at the time but said the store manager answered.

“I’ve kind of had a weird feeling because I’ve been here for 13 years and never had a call like that,”Julia Koepke, manager of Malone’s Lob Cabin Grocery, said. “I think some people will think, ‘Oh I don’t want my Consumer’s bill to be shut off so I’m gonna pay some money.”

The scammers asked the store owner to pay the money through a Green Dot card, a pre-paid credit card. They even left him with their number so he could call them back once he purchased the card.

FOX 17 got the number and placed a call of our own. Without so much as a last name, they even said we owed them more than $1,900. Upon saying we wouldn’t pay it by phone they even gave us an address. By typing in a search to Google, FOX 17 found the address actually takes you to a Consumer’s Energy bill pay center.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Consumer’s Energy will never require you to make an immediate payment or one that could only be made over the phone.
  • It will also never require you to use one method of payment like a Green Dot card.
  • Also, part of the scam is that the criminals can get your caller ID to reflect that it’s Consumer’s Energy calling or some other type of business.

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