Scam AlertWritten by Theresa Rose on June 5, 2015
DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) has received reporting from MidAmerican Energy Company regarding a recent surge in scam phone calls to customers throughout Iowa. Since late May 2015, MidAmerican has documented a significant increase in calls from customers reporting fraudulent phone scam attempts in the Des Moines, Council Bluffs, Fort Dodge, Iowa City, and Davenport areas. MidAmerican anticipates customers in additional Iowa cities are being targeted but not reported.
MidAmerican has made efforts through media channels to warn business owners and the public of the scam targeting their customers. Despite these efforts, scammers have been successful in retrieving Personal Identifying Information (PII) or collecting money via credit cards or pre-paid (Green Dot) cards from the scam victims.
From the reports, an estimated 4-5% of the customers have provided money and/or PII to the scammers.
The scammers generally apply the same tactics by calling residential or business customers, claiming association with MidAmerican, and demanding payment with threats to disconnect their utility service immediately. Scammers are said to be persistent and use sophisticated devices that make it appear to the victim’s Caller ID system that the phone call is coming from the utility company. The scammers insist on direct payment on the phone via a credit card or they direct the customer to callback a specific number and pay with a pre-paid (Green Dot) card.
MidAmerican wants customers to know that they do not threaten immediate disconnection or demand payment over the phone. The company advises customers receiving such a call to hang up immediately and call 1-888-427-5632 to verify the authenticity of the call.