OPPD says utility scammers stepping up their game during holiday season

Dec 9, 2016

Since the week of Thanksgiving, OPPD has had 90 reports of scam phone calls.

Jodi Baker, Media Specialist for OPPD, says most of those were taken by businesses. 

This week though, OPPD says they’re starting to see residential reports coming in as well. 

Though scams can happen at any time, Baker says thieves like to capitalize on the holidays because it’s a busy time of year when businesses and individuals don’t want to risk being without power. 

She says OPPD wants people to know this is going on and warns them not to fall for it.

"What they say when they call, typically, is that you’re overdue on your utility bill or that you have to pay for equipment which you would not actually have to pay for.  They try to get you to go out and purchase a gift card or money card and call back with those numbers and make a payment over the phone.  They’re very aggressive and often times they will tell people if they don’t pay up right away, their power will be disconnected in the next hour.”

Baker says OPPD advises not to trust your caller ID as thieves have methods for spoofing numbers to make it look like the call is coming from OPPD. 

She says OPPD would never call you and demand payment.  OPPD sends written notices to those who are overdue on bills.

Baker says if a scammer calls about your bill, hang up and call OPPD directly at 877-536-4131.  She says they can answer any questions you have about your bill.