UPDATED: Friday, July 12, 2013 --- 3:03 p.m.
For the third time this week, residents are being warned about utility scams in the area. The Sun Prairie Police Department is investigating reports of businesses and individuals getting a phone call from a man who claims to be with Sun Prairie Utilities or Madison Gas and Electric. The man apparently has been telling victims they will be overdue on bills unless they have new meters installed, and says if they don't pay, their power will be disconnected.
Sun Prairie police say this man is a scammer, and you should never give your Social Security number, credit card numbers or bank account information to anyone who requests the information during this type of phone call.
This scam is similar to notices sent by Madison Police and M G & E earlier this week.
Sun Prairie Police advise people to do the following:
"If you get a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from Sun Prairie Utilities or Madison Gas and Electric, hang up and contact the Sun Prairie Utilities at 608-837-5500 or Madison Gas and Electric at 608-252-7222 to verify if the caller is legitimate. If not legitimate, contact the Sun Prairie Police Department at 608-837-7336 to file a report. You can also file a complaint with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection by contacting them at 1-800-422-7128."
UPDATED: Monday, July 8, 2013 --- 8:45pm
With summer comes comes sun, sand and plenty of swimming. It's a perfect setting for your family...and scammers.
And whether they show up at your door or call you on the phone, your identity is at risk.
"Identity theft is the fastest growing crime right now” says Southwest Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau Kimberly Hazen,
And here in Madison, many residents are being targeted with scammers posing as utility workers.
"I think the biggest red flag is anytime you have that inner voice telling you that it doesn't sound right, doesn't seem right, that's when you need to do some extra checking” says Hazen.
The first local scam targets folks expecting to have new water meters installed. Someone calls claiming to be from a local water company. They then demand hundreds of dollars for a water meter repair or upgrade. But, don't fall for it. Upgrading water meters is free.
"Scammers are going to look for somebody who's supposed to be trustworthy” Hazen says.
And thanks to a boost in technology, spotting a scammer over the phone is even tougher these days.
"You can get a phone number that looks like it's from Madison. They could be calling from India” says Hazen.
Scammers are also posing as Madison Gas and Electric employees. They call saying a bill is overdue, then threaten to discontinue service if you don't pay by card over the phone.
The Better Business Bureau says, if you're skeptical, hang up. Then call the company's customer service. They'll be able to tell you if it was legitimate.
And if you get a suspicious call from someone claiming to be either from water utility or Madison Gas and Electric , call your local police department immediately.
Monday July 8, 2013
MADISON, Wis.-- There are new scams in southern Wisconsin.
The first is targeting people who may expect to have new water meters installed at their homes, according to Madison Water Utility.
Dozens of people in Madison have gotten calls from someone claiming to be from a local water company. During some of the conversations the caller demands hundreds of dollars for a water meter repair or upgrade.
Madison Water is currently upgrading water meters but there is no charge for the upgrades.
If you get a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from a water utility you should call your local police department.
In a similar scam, Madison Police say since March they've received a number of complaints that people are posing as MG&E workers, calling customers about overdue electric and gas bills. The imposter insists the customer pay immediately or their power will be shut off, and says the payment needs to be made by prepaid cards usually found at convenience stores (e.g. Money Gram Card or Green Dot Card). In some cases they have asked for debit card information.