natural gas providers across the United States and Canada are joining forces
to protect customers from long-running scams targeting their customers, the
Northern Indiana Public Service Company announced in a statement released on
Today, Nov. 16, has
been designated Utilities United Against Scams Day and it kicks off a
week-long campaign to expose the tricks used by scammers to steal from
increase during the holiday season--although they occur throughout the
year--with the most common one reported by NIPSCO customers involving an
unsolicited phone call from someone falsely claiming to be a NIPSCO
representative and threatening the imminent shut-off of service unless a
payment is immediately made.
provide a call-back number different from NIPSCO’s official published 1-800
customer service phone number. They may also duplicate and record the
company’s automated customer service phone system, giving the appearance of
an authentic sounding 1-800 when customers dial the number provided by the
scammer. Some of these criminals use caller ID spoofing as well to replicate
a customer service number when they make an outbound call.
Red flags for scam
* The thief becomes
angry and gives the customer less than an hour to make a payment, or face
* The thief
instructs the customer to purchase a prepaid debit or credit card--widely
available at retail stores--then call back to make payment.
* The scammer asks
the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number, which
grants instant access to the card’s funds.
How to protect
* Remember that
NIPSCO never asks for or requires a customer with a delinquent account to
purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
* Customers can
make payments online, by phone, by mail or in person.
* Keep in mind that
customers with delinquent accounts receive an advance disconnection
notice--never a single notification one hour before disconnection.
suspect or experience fraud, or who feel threatened during contact with one
of these scams, should contact local authorities, and then call NIPSCO at
(800) 464-7726 (800) 4-NIPSCO).
continues to work with law enforcement, other energy companies and the media
to help combat scams and protect customers,” NIPSCO said.
information on scams and how to protect yourself, visit NIPSCO.com/StaySafe
or follow NIPSCO on Facebook and Twitter.