Otter Tail Power Company is aware of an uptick in scam activity in its service area. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers have been taking advantage of heightened anxieties,” said customer care supervisor Collin Kremeier. “It’s very important our customers know that we’ll never pressure them to make immediate payments over the phone or online, especially through services like MoneyPak, MoneyGram, or prepaid credit cards.”
Kremeier outlines these red flags to help recognize suspicious contact from a possible scammer:
• The caller says he or she works for Otter Tail Power Company or a collection agency and your electricity is about to be shut off—even though you know you’ve paid your bill, haven’t received a disconnection notice, or the date on the notice doesn’t match what the caller is stating.
• The caller references a phony bill date, disconnection date, account number, or balance. Otter Tail Power Company doesn’t offer this information over the phone and only will validate what customers provide.
• The email or text message doesn’t mention Otter Tail Power Company yet contains a clickable link that supposedly would allow you to view your bill.
Use these tips to help protect yourself:
• Don’t call back the number the scammer provided. Scammers can spoof the company’s phone number, making it appear as though the call is coming from Otter Tail Power Company. Questions about accounts or to set up payment arrangements, contact the company directly at 800-257-4044. Check account balances using the latest Otter Tail Power Company bill or the company’s website, otpco.com.
• Remember an Otter Tail Power Company customer service representative may call to remind you to make a payment—but will never ask to process payment on the call.
• Only share information by phone if you’ve initiated the call.
• Don’t click on links in or reply to a suspicious email.
• Never share business or personal information by email.
• Contact your financial institution if you shared banking or credit card information.
• Report illegal activity to local law enforcement and to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-FTC-HELP.
“Please share these tips with your family and friends to help prevent a potential scam,” said Kremeier. “And don’t hesitate to call us with questions about your account or to set up payment arrangements if needed.”
Otter Tail Power Company continues to put the health and safety of its employees and customers first while maintaining reliable electric service in the region. As always, the company is working with its customers to address specific concerns.