LANSING – Attorney General Dana Nessel issued an urgent consumer alert to Michigan residents in response to recent imposter scams related to DTE Energy.
DTE Energy reported that it recently became aware of calls being made to customers by someone claiming to be a DTE employee. The scammer was notifying customers of a power shutoff and requesting payment by bitcoin or preloaded money card to avoid shutoff. When a return call was made to the number shown on the customer’s caller ID, the customer was greeted by a convincing spoof of a DTE employee who would appear to help the customer avoid a shutoff. In fact, that impersonator would then take advantage of the customer by getting personal information and/or cash.
While consumers are targeted by utility imposter scams every day, this year is worse as a result of COVID-19. Attorney General Nessel is urging residents to recognize potential bad actors posing as utility workers, whether it be in-person, by phone, text or online.
“Some bad actors are using the ongoing pandemic to their full advantage to scam Michigan residents,” Nessel said. “It’s important to remember that utility companies will never call, email, or show up unannounced to demand payment or threaten shutoff. Don’t give in to the bullying or threats of a scammer – call your utility company directly from a phone number available on their website or listed on your utility bill.”
Scammers can be convincing and often target the most vulnerable, including senior citizens and low-income families. With so many struggling during the pandemic, all utility customers should learn to detect and report these predatory scams.
DTE Energy and other utility companies will never:
- Solicit personal information for a government program that claims to reduce energy bills.
- Visit your home to collect a bill or threaten shutoff.
- Show up unannounced at a customer’s home to inspect or repair equipment, investigate a leak or do a free audit for energy efficiency.
- Request immediate payment, instructing customer to purchase a prepaid debit card, or any form of unusual payment.
- Request personal or financial information, such as Social Security number, utility account number or payment information.
- Claim a customer is entitled to a refund or rebate asking for bank account or credit card information to make the alleged refund.
- Use aggressive tactics to get into a customer’s home.
If you suspect you have been contacted by an imposter, call 800-477-4747 to speak to a customer representative who can confirm the status of your account.
You may also file a complaint online with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team or call 877-765-8388.
View the consumer alert here for more information on utility scams and how to protect yourself.