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News Releases : OPPD warns customers not to fall victim to scammers
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OPPD warns customers not to fall victim to scammers

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Omaha Public Power District has heard about a recent increase in scam calls targeting customers of other Nebraska and Iowa utilities. With the likelihood that those calls will make their way to our service territory again, we want to remind our customers how to defend themselves against this long-running con with new twists.

The scammers target customers of utilities here in our area and across the nation, claiming to work for the power company. Most often, they falsely claim that the customer is overdue on their bill and needs to buy some sort of pre-paid credit or gift card to settle up. They are often quite aggressive and threaten to disconnect power if they don’t receive payment. This is a hollow threat. NEVER pay these callers. Just hang up.

Another common ploy that callers use is to try to convince customers that they owe money for equipment, such as an electric meter. OPPD customers would NOT be responsible for such equipment.

In 2024, our call center representatives have received reports of new twists to this old scam, with callers falsely claiming:

  • Customers are receiving a credit or discount as a reward for paying their bill on time.
  • Senior citizens get a discount of $50.
  • Customers have overpaid on their bills, and they’re getting money back.

With all of the above methods, scammers are asking for credit card numbers to apply credits. OPPD would NEVER request a credit or debit card number, even if a customer had overpaid. We would simply apply the credit to the next bill.

Sometimes scammers target specific types of businesses as they make their phone call rounds, likely hoping that owners will pay up rather than risk being shut down and losing even more money. In the past they have even targeted specific businesses like nail salons or Mexican restaurants, possibly trying to take advantage of non-English speakers.

Scammers have also used technology like text messaging, cash apps, QR codes, robocalls, and recordings of authentic OPPD messages to try and fool customers into paying. And they can be quite convincing. We want our residential and business customers to protect themselves by remembering:

  • NONE of these calls are from the utility. Our call center representatives would never cold-call customers demanding immediate payment. If customers were truly overdue on their bills to the point where service could be disconnected, they would receive written notice first. Authentic utility representatives never request payment via a purchased payment card.
  • NEVER give personal or financial information to a stranger during an unsolicited phone call.
  • Do NOT allow entrance to such a person, without proper credentials or utility authorization, appearing unannounced at your door.
  • ALWAYS ask for identification or verification. OPPD employees always carry identification. Failure to produce identification should always be a tip-off to the customer that something is wrong.
  • Be wary of sales pitches from companies claiming to represent or work with OPPD.

OPPD is working in partnership with other local and regional public power utilities to raise awareness of these scams among our customers, identify scammers’ trends, and get their phone numbers shut down when possible. It helps if customers report scam calls to us along with the phone number used.

Customers who have any questions about service, their account or bill status, or if in need of financial assistance should call us at 402-536-4131 in the Omaha calling area or 877-536-4131 outside of the Omaha area.