Local businesses have been the target of a scam, according to the Spooner Police Department (SPD).
The SPD says that business owners will receive a call from someone pretending to be We Energies and needing the business to pay a late bill right away.
They will ask the owner to purchase pre-paid Visa cards and give them the number, however, this is a scam. We Energies will not request payment through a specific method.
The SPD states that this scam warning from We Energies below is what is happening in the Spooner community.
Using a service disconnection threat, scammers try to convince you to purchase prepaid debit cards and provide the card information to them. How it works:
- Caller claims to be from We Energies. Some scammers provide a fake ID number and may use software to display our company name on your phone. Sometimes they use a recording of our greeting to sound legitimate.
- Caller claims you are behind on bill payment or have a malfunctioning meter that you must replace, adding that the cost is rebated after installation.
- Caller tells you to go to a nearby store — often Walmart, Walgreens or CVS — to buy a pre-paid Visa debit card, sometimes referred to as a Green Dot card or MoneyPak card.
- Caller tells you an exact amount for the card, makes the request urgent and threatens disconnection.
- Caller provides a phone number to call to provide the card’s numbers. Your money goes to the scammer, and we do not reimburse for such losses.
Scammers are sophisticated. Using online databases, they know your name and address, and claim to have additional information about your account. Don’t be fooled. Call us anytime at 800-242-9137 to:
- Determine if you received a scam
- Check on account status
- Verify payment history
The scammers also are intimidating. If you do not cooperate, they apply more pressure by implying that if you do not act quickly, your power may be off for days. They will say anything to frighten you.
We do not solicit payment from customers in a threatening manner. If you get a call that sounds suspicious, hang up immediately and call us. If you act quickly, you may be able to request a refund if the scammer has not yet cashed the pre-paid card. MoneyPak, the company that issues the Green Dot cards, has an online tool that allows you to request a refund.
Front porch scam
Identifying themselves as utility or city workers, scammers try to gain access to your residence or business. How it works:
- Scammer works to gain your trust by identifying themselves as workers trying to investigate or fix some problem.
- While distracting you, another scammer enters and burglarizes your home.
- Sometimes scammers look for areas where real utility and city workers are present to make themselves appear legitimate.
All of our employees and contractors carry an identification card. Every card displays a photo of the worker and our company name and logo. Some cards include the individual’s ID number and our company phone number instead of the individual’s name. Contractor ID cards show the name of their company. When in doubt, call us at 800-242-9137, and we will confirm our employee’s or contractor’s identity.
Impersonating a utility worker in Wisconsin is a felony punishable with a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or a prison term of three-and-half years. If you experience a loss through any scam, report the crime to local law enforcement.