Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - In support of the Federal Trade Commission’s annual National Consumer Protection Week, NorthWestern Energy is working with partners to inform customers about scams and to support initiatives to combat scammers. 

Utility scammers pretend to represent electric, natural gas, water, and sewer utilities to steal customers’ money and personal information. They approach customers through a variety of methods, including texts, phone calls, in-person visits, and emails.

Scammers will demand payment and threaten service disconnection, claiming a customer is past due on their utility bill. Scammers are also using more advanced digital tactics to target customers. 

“We’ve worked to shut down hundreds of phone numbers and other tactics scammers use and make the communities we serve aware of scam activity,” said NorthWestern Energy Vice President Customer Care, Communication and Human Resources Bobbi Schroeppel. “We all need to work together to protect our neighbors, families and friends from these criminals.” 

READ MORE: Scammers are Threatening to Arrest Montana Business Owners

General tips to avoid being scammed: 

  • Protect personal information: Never provide personal information, including your date of birth, to anyone who initiates contact with you, claiming to be a utility company representative. They may ask you to confirm this information if you contact them first, but they will never initiate contact with you asking for this information. 
  • Take your time: If a request for payment is unexpected or seems suspicious, end the conversation and contact your utility using the verified phone number on a recent bill or the utility’s website to check the true status of your account. 
  • Only make payments through a verified phone number or website: Remember your utility will never ask you to make a payment through methods like a prepaid debit card, a gift card, cryptocurrency, or through third-party digital payment mobile applications. 

In conclusion, if it seems fishy, it probably is. 

LOOK: The biggest scams today and how you can protect yourself from them

Using data from the BBB Scam Tracker Annual Risk Report, Stacker identified the most common and costly types of scams in 2022.

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM