Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) issued a warning to its customers this week to beware of scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to an I&M press release, scams have been reported across the U.S. targeting utility customers and companies, including I&M.
I&M said the scams can vary, but often follow this pattern:
- “Customers receive calls from scammers falsely identifying themselves as I&M employees.
- The caller claims the customer is late paying their bill, and their power will be disconnected if the customer does not pay immediately.
- Many scammers “spoof” the telephone number to appear as a different number. In some cases, it may appear to be an authentic I&M phone number.
- Customers are usually instructed to call a different number to arrange payment.
- The scammers may seek account information or personal credit card and banking information from customers. Some direct customers to buy a debit card and provide the debit card number.”
I&M stated during the coronavirus pandemic it has suspended disconnections for non-payment, although customers are still responsible to pay their bills and are expected to continue paying for usage.
“Regardless of the situation, I&M employees never call customers demanding immediate payment,” the release states. “Nor does I&M disconnect service without prior written warning. Anyone receiving such calls should hang up and call I&M’s Customer Operations Center at 800-311-4634 to report the scam.”