INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Power and Light is sending another alert out to its customers about a new scam that has proven effective.
In the last few weeks, an IPL spokesperson said they know of more than 50 homeowners and small business owners who’ve lost money.
“They’re calling from what looks like an IPL number,” said Brandi Davis-Handy with IPL. “What we’ve heard is one of two stories: Either that their utilities are going to be shut off and they need to make this payment immediately, and in some more recent cases, they`ve been told their meter is faulty, and they need a new meter, and it’s up to the customer to pay the deposit.”
If the customers do not pay to replace the so-called faulty equipment, the callers claim customers could be at risk for a fire.
IPL posted a warning on its website in February, but they have been hearing from more customers who were specifically targeted.
“Especially in the last month, we’ve seen a big emphasis on these scammers really targeting those in the Hispanic community,” said Davis-Handy.
The scam artists are telling IPL customers to purchase and load a Green Dot Money Pak Card, a prepaid card that is available at local drug and convenience stores. They are then told to call a certain phone number so they can make the payment.
Davis-Handy said a recent victim lost more than $300 in the scam.
“Even if they have a little bit of personal information about you, don’t trust it,” said Bill Thomas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana.
Thomas said they have seen plenty of scams just like this, adding that there’s no real solution in sight. The best advice is for customers to say, ‘thank you,’ hang up and call IPL to find out if there really is a problem.
“Don’t let yourself fall into a scam or dialogue that anyone else is directing,” said Thomas, who advocates the importance of taking control of the phone conversation before you offer any information that could be used against you.
“In some cases, they’re asking for more personal information, and that can lead to identity theft,” said Davis-Handy.
IPL also included a few important facts about its operations:
- If IPL does call a customer, our representative will have specific and accurate information related to the customer’s billing and account.
- IPL does not require or strongly recommend a specific payment method or type. We offer a variety of payment options so customers can select the one that best suits them.
- IPL also reminds customers not to provide personal information or comply with requests for payments unless they are confident with whom they are speaking. Customers are asked to notify IPL if they receive a call and are unsure that the caller is truly an IPL employee. Please call IPL at 317.261.8222 to verify any questions you may have related to IPL bill payment and collection.
- Customers who suspect they have been impacted by this scam should report it immediately to their local police departments.
For more about the scam, visit IPL’s website.