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“It’s very unfortunate:” We Energies “Green Dot” scam is back; veterinary clinic targeted by scammers

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- It's a perpetual scam, and one that We Energies officials are warning folks about again. This time, it seems scammers are targeting those who serve our furry friends.

Few things warm your heart like a greeting from a four-legged friend who loves you unconditionally from the moment you meet. Unfortunately, these days, businesses that serve our furry friends are being targeted by sophisticated scammers.

"I picked up the phone and the gentleman said that he was calling from We Energies Disconnection Department and that we owed in excess of $800," East Towne Veterinary Clinic Hospital Manager Melanie Meyer said.

Meyer's clinic has become the latest to be targeted by scammers.

"We've seen a couple dozen calls to specific veterinary clinics, kennels, those types of businesses over the past few weeks," We Energies spokeswoman Cathy Schulze said.

Sometimes called a "Green Dot" scam, We Energies officials say they've seen similar attempts to fool both residential and business customers in the past. There have been about 200 reported scam attempts since the start of 2015.

"They'll request customers go to the store and buy a pre-paid debit or credit card -- oftentimes known as a Green Dot card. They'll tell them they need buy this card immediately and call them back and give the card number over the phone. As soon as they do that, that money's gone," Schulze said.

Meyer says she knew something was up when the caller tried to convince her that We Energies no longer accepts automatic bill payments. She did what We Energies recommends. She hung up the phone and called We Energies directly. She says she doesn't want others to fall victim.

"It affects the community at large, you know, especially targeting a business. It could be one or two paychecks and that affects your employees, that affects their children and that affects our community and it's very unfortunate," Meyer said.

It's important to note: Your caller ID may show "We Energies" when a scammer calls, so you'll need to hang up and call We Energies directly to check the status of your account.

If you're a residential customer and you're threatened that you'll be disconnected, that should be a major red flag. We Energies does not disconnect residential customers for non-payment during the winter months (November 1st - April 15th).

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