Posted: Oct 4, 2013 8:49 PM by Lindsey Gordon - MTN News
HELENA - Scammers are targeting utility customers across Montana. Callers pose as agents from NorthWestern Energy and threaten that they'll turn off services if customers don't pay up for late payments.
According to NorthWestern Energy spokesman Butch Larcombe, often scammers will use "masked" phone numbers that will show up as NorthWestern on Caller ID.
He said the scammer will tell the victim that they have overdue payments and pressure them to pay immediately.
"If they had a problem with us in terms of their bill, and they're in danger of being cut off, they'll know about it. It isn't going to come as a surprise. We'll have been in communication with them and we are never going to call up and threaten someone and say we're going to cut off your power in an hour and we're never going to demand payment with like a pre-paid debit card or some sort of form of payment that can't be traced," said Larcombe.
They'll ask that the victim pay with a pre-paid debit card, or a PayPal account, so that they don't have a chance to cancel it before they realize they've been scammed.
Customers with questions or concerns about potential scams should contact NorthWestern Energy or their state's Consumer Affairs department to report possible scams or questionable or business offers. Montana customers can contact NorthWestern at 888-467-2669.