Xcel, BBB warn Minnesotans about scamby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Xcel Energy and the Better Business Bureau are warning utility customers to be on guard for a scam targeting Minnesotans.
The company and the Better Business Bureau say that consumers are being contacted by phone, through fliers and even text messages with an offer for federal assistance for their utility bills. Utility customers are being asked for personal and financial information, like Social Security numbers.
"We're told in some cases, [scammers] have gathered social security numbers and other identification, which they can then use to steal the person's identity," said Better Business Bureau spokesman Dan Hendrickson.
Victims are also reportedly offered fake payment options for their utility bills through an automated phone service.
The Better Business Bureau says utility customers should contact their gas, electric or other service provider before providing any personal information over the phone.
Xcel says any customers that have given credit card information to someone over the phone, posing as an Xcel Energy employee, should contact the card issuer and alert the bank to the possible fraud. They also ask that customers who suspect they've been involved in the scam to call Xcel and local police.