Alliant Energy warns customers of electric bill phone scam - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Alliant Energy warns customers of electric bill phone scam

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Alliant Energy is warning customers of scammers coming after their hard-earned money.

It's a telephone fraud scam potentially targeting any and everybody, asking Alliant customers to pay the electric bill over the phone immediately, or their power would be disconnected.

"I got a phone call on the store phone, said Charles Hense, vice president of Yumei's Asian Market & Anime. "If would've made the decision to give him the information, it would've been several $1,000's or more."

Hense says a person with a foreign accent called Yumei's claiming to be from the billing department at Alliant Energy, and  asked for payment of an outstanding balance on the electric bill.

Hense says the person on the phone was so bold that he started to believe it was real.

"'Well you've got less than 56 minutes now to resolve this matter before your power gets shut off,'" said the scammer on the phone with Hense. Before I lost my temper too bad, I hung up the phone on them. I then immediately went and called Alliant Energy."

Alliant spokesperson Justin Foss says they've been getting calls from customers for years about scams, but every time they scammers become even more sophisticated and demanding.

He says Hense did exactly what Alliant recommends customers to do.

"You name it, we've heard it," said Foss. "These scam artists are so savvy that they are calling anybody and everybody"

Foss says it's not just limited to businesses, scammers are so bold, so brazen, they change they're targets almost daily, from businesses to residnets, meaning anyone could be a victim, but he says don't fall for it.

"If you don't recognize the phone call, if you're not expecting the phone call, hang up," said Foss.

He said after that immediately call an Alliant representative and police.

Alliant says you should never give any information over the phone, and they're representatives will never demand money over the phone or threaten to shut off your electric within hours.

The area code the scammers called from was an 818 area code, but Foss says tomorrow it could be different.

"I hope they can catch the crooks and throw them behind bars because they're preying on people who don't know better."

Hense plans on sending a letter to the states attorney's office, hoping to track down the crooks behind the scam .

Foss says if you're ever unsure, hang up and call Alliant yourself to make sure you don't become a victim.

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