Scam targets Xcel’s hotel customers
Several hotels in Minot recently were the target of an attempted fraud by Xcel Energy imposters.
In being made aware of the scam, Xcel Energy responded that area residents should be cautious if receiving phone calls about their power being shut off.
The company stated: “We want to remind customers that if someone says they are an Xcel Energy representative and demands immediate bill payment and threatens to turn off their power, they should hang up immediately. Xcel Energy does not work that way. We always notify a customer by mail if a bill is overdue and will send a disconnection notice in writing before power is actually turned off. We will also work with that customer to pay the amount owed and provide many payment options.”
According to representatives at a couple of the hotels contacted, the scammers claimed to be subcontractors hired by Xcel Energy to cut off their power. When questioned, the scammers directed the hotel staff to another phone number. Neither hotel called the number. One called Xcel directly and the other corrected the caller – reporting it received service from Verendrye Electric. At that point, the caller said his company also was working for Verendrye.
Similar scams targeting Xcel customers have occurred by email and in person. Scams may claim a customer owes money and must pay immediately or is owed money and must provide an account number or credit card number for the refund.
Xcel Energy added it will never ask or require a customer with a past due account to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection. Customers should call 1-800-895-4999 if they feel they’ve been targeted by scammers or have a question about the status of their accounts.
More information can be found on Xcel Energy’s website at xcelenergy.com under the Billing and Payment tab. Just click Customer Data and Privacy and then Avoiding Scams. Among tips for customers are to document as much information as possible about the call for criminal investigation purposes and do not give out any personal information. Scammers may manipulate caller ID to appear to be Xcel Energy.