FORT WAYNE, Ind., November 16, 2022 – ‘Tis the season to be jolly – and to be particularly aware of scammers.
Today, Nov. 16, is Utility Scam Awareness Day. Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) joins with other utilities across the nation to raise awareness of the ploys that scammers use and how you can avoid being scammed.
Increasingly, scammers are using more advanced tactics to target customers of utilities including electric, gas, water and more.
In most cases, scammers contact a utility customer by phone, email or in person, claiming the customer is late paying their bill. They generally threaten that the customer’s service will be disconnected if the customer does not pay immediately. Scammers often demand a wire transfer or a gift card. Sometimes they urge customers to buy a pre-paid debit card and use the card to provide payment. Once the funds are used, they cannot be reversed.
I&M wants customers to know our employees NEVER call customers demanding immediate payment. I&M does NOT disconnect service without prior warning. I&M employees and contractors always carry proper identification such as a photo badge.
Customers should use one of the authorized methods of paying your bill. Only make payments online at www.IndianaMichiganPower.com; by mail; through the I&M mobile app; at authorized payment locations; or by calling I&M at 800-311-4634 (Indiana) or 800-311-6424 (Michigan).
If someone demands immediate payment of a bill, take the following steps:
- Slow down. Scammers often try to hurry customers. They may ask for personal information in addition to immediate payment.
- Verify. Scammers pose as utility company employees. If the scammer is on the phone, make sure they can verify they are with the utility or can verify your account information. If you are unsure, hang up and contact I&M directly by using the information on your most recent bill or the I&M website. Remember that scammers increasingly use “spoof” numbers that make it appear the call is originating from a legitimate business.
- Stop before you act. Think about the information the caller is asking of you. If it seems unsafe or incorrect, rethink the situation and ask questions.
“At Indiana Michigan Power, we truly value our customers and don’t want them to be the victim of ruthless scammers,” said Nick Elkins, I&M director of Customer Services and Business Development. “We encourage our customers to be wary any time they are asked to pay their bill immediately. We want everyone across the areas served by I&M to have a safe and enjoyable holiday season, including being safe from scammers.”
Utility Scam Awareness Day was created by Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), a group of more than 150 U.S. and Canadian electric, water and natural gas companies and trade associations including I&M and its parent company, American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP). The UUAS works to inform and protect customers, and offers a guide with in-depth information about scams against utility customers
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Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its approximately 2,100 employees serve more than 600,000 customers. More than 80% of its energy delivered in 2021 was emission-free. I&M has at its availability various sources of generation including 2,278 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan, 450 MW of purchased wind generation from Indiana, more than 22 MW of hydro generation in both states and approximately 35 MW of large-scale solar generation in both states. The company’s generation portfolio also includes 2,620 MW of coal-fueled generation in Indiana.
American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, is powering a cleaner, brighter energy future for its customers and communities. AEP’s approximately 16,700 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 224,000 miles of distribution lines to safely deliver reliable and affordable power to 5.5 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also is one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 31,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including more than 7,100 megawatts of renewable energy. The company’s plans include growing its renewable generation portfolio to approximately 50% of total capacity by 2030. AEP is on track to reach an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and has committed to achieving net zero by 2045. AEP is recognized consistently for its focus on sustainability, community engagement, and diversity, equity and inclusion. AEP’s family of companies includes utilities AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana, east Texas and the Texas Panhandle). AEP also owns AEP Energy, which provides innovative competitive energy solutions nationwide. For more information, visit aep.com.