Statewide News

Consumers Energy urges Michigan residents to protect themselves against energy fraud

Photo by Miria Caetano on Unsplash

Every day across Michigan criminals pretending to be from Consumers Energy and other utilities try to scam people out of money and personal information. With accounts of phone and in-person scams identified in several parts of the state, Consumers Energy is sharing information so residents know how to recognize and report these scams.

“At Consumers Energy safety is always our top priority, and that extends to our customers and the public. We want everyone to be protected against energy scams,” said Chris Bush, director of corporate security for Consumers Energy.

“The best defense is to learn the signs of possible scams and what to do if you think a scam is occurring,” Bush added. “This can help keep you, your personal information and your money safe.”

Bush noted that scams involving utilities keep popping up in Michigan, with recent reports of in-person home solicitations in Lansing where a large Consumers Energy natural gas enhancement project is taking place, as well as scam phone calls occurring across the state with demands that energy bills be paid immediately or service will be shut-off.

Signs of possible energy scams include:

Phone call demands payment within a short period of time, usually within an hour or two.

o There are times when Consumers Energy does have to shut electric and/or natural gas service off to a home for safety, security and non-payment reasons. However, employees will never threaten to shut off service if you do not comply with immediate demands.

Caller insists payment be made with specific form of payment, like a pre-paid credit card. Consumers Energy does not require payments be made with this type of card.

Visits to your home without an appointment and solicitor requests energy bill and/or personal information.

Phone may be “spoofed” making it appear as if the call is from Consumers Energy, or an 800 or 888 phone number to call that isn’t one your utility provided.

Bush offered the following tips to help protect yourself against energy scams:

· Do not pay your energy bill over the phone using a prepaid credit card.

· Never share personal information, such as a social security number, energy account information or money to
anyone you don’t know.

· If you receive a call or at-home visit and think it may be a scam, call Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050 or
your utility provider immediately. Also report the situation to local police.

· Do not let any solicitor in your home that you do not know.

· A contractor or employee for Consumers Energy wears a company identification badge and will gladly show it upon request. If someone comes to your door representing Consumers Energy, ask to see their ID badge. You can verify the person is employed by Consumers Energy by calling the 800 number above.

Consumers Energy is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.8 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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