August 18, 2023
The heat is on, and Omaha Public Power District warns that the high temperatures we’ll be experiencing in the coming week could trigger more scam calls. Past trends have shown a spike in utility scam activity here in our area and across the nation when stories of extreme weather conditions make the news.
Opportunistic thieves are not just calling but also texting customers. They aggressively try to convince customers they are overdue on their electric bills or need to pay for equipment, such as meters. The scammers provide instructions to make a payment with a pre-paid credit or gift card to settle up, threatening to disconnect power if they don’t. The callers know utility customers are particularly vulnerable in this kind of heat when they need electricity the most, and they want to take advantage of that.
Calls like this are NEVER legitimate. OPPD does not cold call customers demanding immediate payment, certainly not with a pre-paid card. If you receive one of these phone calls, hang up. Dial OPPD directly at 402-536-4131 in the Omaha calling area or 877-536-4131 outside of the Omaha area. Only by calling OPPD yourself can you be assured you are talking with an actual utility representative.
In addition, OPPD warns:
- NEVER give personal or financial information to a stranger on an unsolicited phone call.
- Scammers may spoof OPPD’s phone number or steal authentic recorded messages to make themselves appear legitimate. Do NOT assume it is OPPD calling.
- While customers can always reach OPPD to report a power outage or emergency, our regular customer service hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you receive a call from OPPD related to billing outside of these hours, it is NOT OPPD on the other end of the line.
- Do not click on any email or text links or QR codes requesting bill payments.
- Do NOT allow anyone claiming to work for the utility to enter your home. ALWAYS ask for identification or verification. OPPD employees must carry identification, and failure to produce it is a tip-off that something is wrong.
- Be wary of sales pitches from companies claiming to represent or work with OPPD. Call the utility directly with any questions about products or services.
OPPD is working in partnership with other local public power utilities to raise awareness among our customers, identify scammers’ trends, and get their phone numbers shut down, when possible.