Consumers Energy is warning customers about a scam that includes a high-pressure demand for quick utility payments over the phone using a prepaid credit card.
"Imposters are ramping up efforts in Michigan and elsewhere. They have begun focusing their criminal efforts on small commercial customers such as restaurants and grocery stores," said Michael Williams, Consumers Energy's director of corporate security. "We are actively working with law enforcement to protect our customers, but the best defense is to be aware of the scam and avoid becoming a victim."
In just the first two months of 2015, customers have reported 241 impersonations. Consumers Energy is aware that 10 customers have turned over nearly $13,000 to the criminals.
Consumers Energy never demands payment using only a pre-paid credit card, and the energy provider is telling its customers to never pay over the phone using a Green Dot card or other pre-paid credit card. In addition, customers should never give personal information or money over the phone to anyone they do not know.