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CenterPoint Energy urges customers to be on alert for potential scam

MINNEAPOLIS — Utility customers around the country are being targeted by utility bill scams and the ‘Green Dot’ pre-paid debit card scam, and CenterPoint Energy is warning customers to be alert.

Posing as utility company employees, scammers are calling customers to tell them they are behind on their bills and have a short time to make a payment. The customers are told to pay with their credit card or purchase a Green Dot pre-paid debit card or other type of reloadable debit card, load the card with money and then provide the serial number from the card to avoid having their service shut off at the meter.

“We want to remind customers to report any suspicious activity to their local police department, and if they fall victim, contact their bank or other financial institution(s) to report an incident,” said Joe Vortherms, vice president of Gas Operations for CenterPoint Energy, in a news release.

To avoid falling victim to any scam, CenterPoint Energy reminds customers that CenterPoint Energy phone agents (whether inbound or outbound) will never personally request banking or credit card information over the phone, but will instead transfer a customer to an Interactive Voice Response system to collect payment information for natural gas bills.

To verify a payment or amount due, customers should call the utilities customer service number that is printed on their utility bill. Credit card numbers and any personal information should not be provided when customers are suspicious.

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota is closely tracking these types of scams and have provided an informative video to help protect the public.