More than 60: State officials issue warning amid uptick in We Energies scam calls

MADISON – Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) are issuing a warning to business owners amid an uptick in We Energies scam calls.

We Energies officials said Wednesday, May 10th they’ve received more than 60 recent reports of scam calls targeting businesses — with the calls coming from criminals claiming to be from We Energies, threatening to disconnect service if the customer doesn’t provide a prepaid debit card payment to the scammer.

According to We Energies, they do not demand immediate payment via prepaid debit card.

Officials with the DATCP say small business owners and consumers alike should be on the lookout for these phony calls. In a news release, DATCP officials said: “While the most recent reports to DATCP have been about contacts from fake We Energies representatives, this is a very common scam and con artists will claim to work for whatever utility company services the area they are targeting.”

If you receive a call you believe could be a scam, you should hang up, and not engage the caller. You should instead contact your utility provider directly using information from your billing statement to inquire about the status of your account and to report the call.

Below are tips from the DATCP to help you avoid becoming a victim:

  • Utility companies will contact you by mail if your account is overdue.  They may also call you if your services are at risk of being terminated, but will NEVER demand immediate payment over the phone.
  • If a caller demands a utility payment by prepaid debit card or wire transfer, it is a scam.
  • Scammers can manipulate your caller ID display to show the local utility company’s name or number when they call.

For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau HERE, send an e-mail to datcphotline@wisconsin.gov, or call the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.