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Scammers acting as electric employees back at it again

Posted at 5:58 AM, Sep 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-07 06:05:34-04

Another pair is posing as electric company workers, this time on the south side of Jackson.

Marc Boyer said the red flags were there.

"Anytime I've had any people from Consumers Energy come up and do what they do, they blatantly show you their badge, they tell you why they're here and it was just sort of all the wrong sort of layout with those two guys," he said.

The incident happened in the last week at his home near Francis and High streets. He said the two men showed up unannounced and both claimed to be with Consumers Energy.

"These guys acted like they were in a hurry and they didn't have any real idea what my specific situation was," Boyer said. "Anytime they've sent someone here to read my meter, they knew that they had to come into my house."

The electric company said he did everything correctly.

"If at any point you have a concern, stop, call us, or call law enforcement and report this to authorities because we routinely receive reports of scams throughout Jackson and throughout the state. We're aware that people are always aware of this barrage of activity," said Consumers Energy spokesman Brian Wheeler.

And with recent tornadoes, con artists try to remain clever.

"We haven't seen anything specific with this particular storm but it's not uncommon for scammers to try and use different excuses to get into people's homes or get their personal information, so it wouldn't be surprising if someone gets a phone call or that in-person visit from someone who says because of the recent storm," Wheeler said.

Boyer has advice for everyone, no matter where you live.

"They've gotta have ID. Don't trust people. Don't let them up by your house," he said.

The company said Thursday it has not received any other reports of the men lurking around.

Boyer describes the men as middle-aged, around late 40s or early 50s. One was short with a mustache, while the other one was taller.

Consumers added they do frequently use contract workers, but even when they do have a third-party working for them, it said they will have decals on their vehicles and IDs. When in doubt, just call your electric company to verify any employee.

In addition, The Lansing Board of Water & Light on Thursday said an old phone scam is making a resurgence. Someone will call and threaten service will be lost if customers do not make a utility payment over the phone. The number on caller ID matches "BWL," in a move known as "spoofing."

"Customers should never give money or personal information over the phone to anyone they don’t know. BWL customers are never asked by BWL customer service representatives for credit card information over the phone or in person, or to make payments through a wire service like Western Union or Money Gram," BWL said in a news release.

BWL said the scam has been reported to Lansing police and will continue to monitor the situation. If you have already been scammed, BWL suggested you contact your local law enforcement.