December 27, 2014

NPPD customers again targeted in phone scam

Nebraskans are being warned about a familiar scam that’s resurfaced involving customers of the Nebraska Public Power District.

Several people in Kearney and O’Neill have gotten calls from someone claiming an overdue electric bill must be paid right away or the power will be cut off.

NPPD spokesman Mark Becker says the scammers are using a fake Caller I-D to further their ruse.

“The identification on the phone ID will come up and say NPPD,” Becker says. “This is a practice known as spoofing. They’re told to go to a local store, purchase a Green Dot card or pre-paid card and call back with the card information. That way they’re transferring funds into their own account.”

Becker says there are several steps to take if you get one of these calls.

“Don’t make any kind of payment over the telephone,” Becker says. “That’s just going to lead to a loss of funds. Write down the call-back number. We also recommend they contact law enforcement with that information. Check with the utility itself and find out if you’re past due.

He says so far, it’s mainly businesses being targeted by the scam. Also, he notes, according to company policy, NPPD does not contact customers by phone to collect payment information.

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton