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DTE warns customers of scammers demanding immediate payments, threatening power shutoffs

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Posted at 9:18 AM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 09:18:47-05

(WXYZ) — DTE is warning customers of scammers posing as company employees to try and solicit payments.

The company says it has received reports of scammers calling customers demanding an immediate payment or else power will be shut off.

Scammers utilize ID sppofing, meaning that caller ID may show the call is coming from DTE. In recent cases, DTE says the scammers provide callback numbers that answer with a recorded greeting like the one played on DTE's customer service line.

In the past, scammers have also demanded payment via Green Dot debit card, Western Union wire transfer and/or cash.

DTE offered the following tips so customers do not fall victim to scammers:

  • Know the Red Flags: Customers should verify all information before making payments over the phone, and should learn to recognize the red flags
  • Someone asks for your DTE account number: DTE Energy DOES NOT ask customers to provide their account numbers. Customers will be asked to validate account information such as the billing zip code, or last four digits of their Social Security number prior to discussing account details to protect customers’ private information. DTE Energy DOES NOT call for payment if the account is in good standing. If a customer is behind on payments, DTE will mail a warning notice, providing the steps to restore the account to good standing and continue service.
  • Bullying: Alarm bells should ring when someone calls and says a crew is on the way to shut off service unless there’s an immediate payment. The more aggressive the caller, the more skeptical customers should be.
  • Demanding a specific form of payment: DTE Energy DOES NOT demand a specific form of payment. In fact, it provides a variety of payment options, including credit cards, debit cards, bank/ACH transfers and more. If a caller insists on payment via a prepaid debit card — especially a specific brand of prepaid card — it is a scam.

On the Phone

  • DO NOT trust your caller ID. Scammers are using caller ID spoofing to make the call appear to originate from DTE Energy. If you suspect the call may be fraudulent, hang up and call DTE Customer Service at 800.477.4747. Similar scams also spoof caller ID and claim to be the IRS and other credible sources.
  • Ask for identification. Pull out your most recent DTE Energy bill and ask the caller to tell you the account number and the amount due.
  • If you have received a call of this nature and believe you are the victim of fraud, contact your local police immediately.

At the Door

  • Ask for identification. All DTE Electric and DTE Gas employees and contractors carry photo identification badges, and are required to display their badge if asked. If you are unsure about an employee's identification, or want to verify the nature of the work to be done at your home, call us at 800.477.4747.
  • DTE encourages customers to call the police if you believe the person at your door is a con artist posing as a utility worker.
  • Do not allow people into your home who:
    • Claim to offer a DTE Electric or DTE Gas refund. Our employees never deliver cash refunds or rebates to customers' homes.
    • Attempt to collect a bill payment. DTE DOES NOT collect or accept utility bill payments at customers' homes or businesses.

On the Web

  • The web is increasingly being used to commit fraud and identity theft. Scammers use e-mail, text messaging and social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Never give out personal information, including Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers over the Internet to someone you do not know.
  • If you suspect you have been fraudulently contacted, call 800.477.4747 to speak with a customer service representative who can confirm the status of your account and make appropriate arrangements for payment, if needed.