HELENA - Some NorthWestern Energy (NWE) customers in Montana, Nevada, and South Dakota are receiving scam calls, attempting to steal money from customers by threatening immediate service disconnection.
Scams are found in all forms of communication, calls, texts, emails, you name it.
Recently, some NorthWestern Energy customers have become targets, the scammers are demanding immediate payment from customers within the hour. The scam artists say that if they don't receive it, their service will be cut off.
Montana Office of Consumer Protection Supervising Attorney Jake Griffith has dealt with this issue before.
"The trick to a scam is immediacy. You want to call somebody, you want to make it an immediate issue, something that's important to them, something that's going to get them to react before they can actually think through logically and realize that this might be a scam."
"'Northwestern Energy never demands immediate payment or a specific payment type, such as a prepaid card or at kiosk machines that accept cash payments...such as bitcoin ATMs," NWE noted in a new release.
NorthWestern Energy also does not use QR codes to request or process payments, and customers will receive multiple disconnection notices before their service is shut off.
Customers are always offered several bill payment options, not only just one.
"If it's a company that is calling you, you always have the option of looking at like your bill statement and calling them back on their official telephone number, right, and working through the problem directly with one of their representatives or googling their, you know, web page and looking at your online billing or looking at your accounts right. Just stop, take a breath and think is the best thing that I can tell people to do."
Griffith states that if you suspect a call or a text to be a scam, let the office of consumer protection know about it first.
"You're going to be able to talk with one of our folks on staff. They're going to record the information you provide. So the type of scam, the details, maybe even the number that you're being called from is helpful information to track."
For more information on how to avoid being the victim of a scam, or to report a scam, go to northwesternenergy.com/scamalertor you can call 888-467-2669.