Cedar Rapids Police warns public of utility bill scam - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids Police warns public of utility bill scam

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The Cedar Rapids Police Department is warning the public of a potential utility bill scam.

Last Friday, they got a report from a business on the northeast side of Cedar Rapids that said a person called pretending to be an Alliant Energy employee and claimed they had an overdue utility bill that needed to be paid immediately.

The scammers provided the business with a claim number and told the business that they needed to go to a drug store and purchase a gift card to pay the overdue balance. The business was then to call the suspect back with the gift card number.

Alliant Energy confirmed that they would not request payment in this manner.

Cedar Rapids Police say if you or your business receives a similar call, don't be pressured to pay immediately.

They recommended

that you hang up the phone and contact your utility company.

Being advised that payment will only be accepted by prepaid debit card or other gift card is a potential red flag that the call is a scam.

Credit card information, account numbers and other personal information should never be provided in response to an unsolicited call.

To avoid getting scammed, the Better Business Bureau offers the following advice:

• Don't automatically assume that what is displayed on your caller ID is accurate. Con artists can change the number that shows up on your caller ID to make it appear legitimate and/or local.

• Don't be pressured by immediate demands for payment. Hang up and call your utility company using the number from your statement.

• Don't give out your account number or other personal information to someone soliciting you. Utility companies already know your account number. They will never call you and ask you to verify it.

• Know your options. Most utility companies offer a number of bill payment methods. Contact them for assistance if you are late or behind on your bills.

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