SCAM ALERT: Callers impersonating Consumers Energy demand money

Posted at 7:25 AM, Feb 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-15 07:25:08-05

"It's a bummer," Susan Clark.

She’s out $500 after getting a call from someone claiming to be with Consumers Energy. They told her if she didn't pay her bill, they'd cut her power.

"I was a week late paying it,” Clark said. “So I thought it was legit."

She says she's usually aware of these kinds of scams. But the caller had a surprising amount of her information.

"They read me off my account number, the number was exactly the same,” Clark said. “They knew my address, they knew my bill."

They even called her from a number one digit off from Consumers. Next they asked her to make her payment with a prepaid card.

"Prepaid card that just sounds funny,” Clark said. “But I was busy and stressed out for the day and not thinking about that."

A spokesperson for Consumers Energy says these phone scams are pretty common. And he's got ways to help you stay safe.
"The two big things to know are if they demand a specific type of payment such as a prepaid credit card or if they say it has to be made this very day," Brian Wheeler said.

Wheeler says the goal of these scammers is to make you feel flustered. They want you to panic and make a split decision. He says consumers will never make you pay the day they call. And if you're unsure if it's the real consumers you're talking to.

"Politely decline to make a payment,” Clark said. “Hang up the phone and then call us back on our 800 number."

Consumers says the other things to watch out for are phone calls demanding payment within a short time, threatening your service will be shut off if the payment isn’t made, insisting on a specific form of payment, seeking your personal or account information, they might already have your account number, they might make it seem like the number is actually coming from Consumers Energy and they might provide an 800 or 888 number that isn’t theirs.

Consumers can be reached at 800-477-5050

Also, Blackman Leoni Township Department of Public Safety posted a warning about the scam on their Facebook page. They say Consumers Energy won't ask for money from their customers over the phone, and people should contact their local police department if they suspect they have received a call from someone who is not legitimate.