Chesterton Tribune

 

 

NIPSCO joins other utilities in educating consumers about scams

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Electric and 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 Tuesday.

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 consumers.

Scams typically 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.

Scammers often 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 activity:

* The thief becomes angry and gives the customer less than an hour to make a payment, or face shut-off.

* 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 yourself:

* 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.

Customers who 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).

“The company continues to work with law enforcement, other energy companies and the media to help combat scams and protect customers,” NIPSCO said.

For more information on scams and how to protect yourself, visit NIPSCO.com/StaySafe or follow NIPSCO on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Posted 11/16/2016

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

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