GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Better Business Bureau is working with Consumers Energy to warn businesses about reports of fraudulent calls in which the caller demands payment via wire transfer or gift cards.
Troy Baker with the Better Business Bureau said the organization saw a spike in reports of these calls in recent months.
The caller typically tells the victim they are behind in their energy bill payment and need to pay them immediately, or their power will be shut off.
Baker said the biggest giveaway that the caller isn't legitimate is how they tell you to pay them.
“Usually they want you to pay by prepaid gift card or by wire transfer and we really want businesses to know that is not how it works," Baker said.
Baker said Consumers Energy will never contact a customer by phone to tell them their power is about to be shut off.
“That’s not how it works," Baker said. "There’s notices in the mail. If they call you, they’re going to talk to you, it’s never going to demand payment. Consumers Energy is going to send a bunch of stuff in writing. If you’ve got a billing issue, you’re well aware of it, or you should be well aware of it.”
These calls aren't the only scam related to Consumers Energy Baker has heard of.
“When it comes to residential customers, the scam we usually see is people knocking on the door and saying that they’re with Consumers Energy and, ‘Let me see your bill. I can get you a better rate.’ What turns out happening is they are not with Consumers Energy, they’re with a different energy supplier and they’re switching you over to a different company," Baker said.
To report a fraudulent call or claim regarding Consumers Energy, contact the company directly or report it to the Better Business Bureau's scam tracker.