DENVER - Xcel Energy is warning customers that the number of scam reports has significantly increased this year.
In the first quarter of 2014, the company received more than 1,800 scam reports. Last year, during the same time frame, the company had 181 reports.
Some of the scams to watch for:
- Intended victims are told their account is past due and they must pay using a pre-paid debit card
- Threats to turn off your power if you don't make a payment right away
- Anyone telling you that you must pay using a pre-paid debit card, such as a Green Dot card
Xcel Energy is also warning customers not to trust their caller ID because some scammers know how to manipulate the system to show a fake or spoofed name and number such as Xcel Energy's.
"Scammers have targeted all classes of customers, but particularly small businesses such as restaurants," officials said in a news release. "In most cases, a scammer calls during busy hours of operation and threatens to disconnect the customer’s power unless they make a payment over the phone."
Xcel said if a customer is behind on their bill, the company sends a written disconnect notice first.
"Customers who have not received a disconnect notice in the mail should not engage anyone on the phone offering to take payment. Instead, customers should hang up and contact Xcel Energy to verify account status and report the attempted scam," officials said.
Residential customers may call 1-800-895-4999. Business customers should call 1-800-481-4700.
Learn more: www.connect.xcelenergy.com/scams