Energy Company Warns of Scam


A local gas provider is warning customers of a scam hitting the area.

NorthWestern Energy said scammers are pretending to be them and demanding customers pay overdue utility bills.

Police say this isn't a new scam, but it's increased recently in North Platte, Grand Island and Kearney.

The scammers are asking customers – some businesses – for credit card numbers, prepaid debit cards or pay pal accounts to pay nonexistent bills.

NorthWestern officials said the thieves are even using "spoofing" software that makes the power company's name and number show up on caller ID.

The energy company said it will provide several past-due notices before terminating service. They said if you get a cancellation notification, always verify it by dialing the customer service number on your utility bill.

"Don't necessarily rely on an unsolicited phone call that someone's made to you telling you that you have a bill due, that you won the lottery, whatever the case may be. If it's unsolicited, there's a reason it's unsolicited. Verify that information,” said Grand Island Police Captain Dean Elliot.

If you do get scammed, you may be out of the money since police say these thieves are hard to catch.

"Especially things like prepaid phone cards, that type of stuff is very difficult. Some of these scams are coming in through email," said Elliot.

NorthWestern Energy customers with questions or concerns about potential scams should contact NorthWestern Energy to report possible scams or questionable or business offers. In Nebraska and South Dakota, customers should call (800) 245-6977. Montana customers can contact NorthWestern at (888) 467-2669.