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UPPCO warns consumers about potential phone scam

MARQUETTE — The Upper Peninsula Power Company is warning consumers about a potential telephone scam.

UPPCO issued an alert this week about callers who say they represent the utility who demand immediate payment, often in the form of gift cards or bitcoin.

The UPPCO release, issued Thursday, states that some of the fraudulent calls “even show up on caller ID as coming from a utility company through deliberate caller ID falsification — a deceptive practice called spoofing.”

UPPCO Vice President of Business Development and Communication Brett French said the company would “never require a prepaid debit card, gift card, Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency for payments.

“We won’t use ‘bullying tactics’ when calling customers; demand immediate payment to keep services from being turned off; collect payments at a customer’s home or business, or, as, for bank account information or credit card numbers by phone,” French said.

In addition to phone scams, the company is reminding customers that legitimate utility workers “won’t coerce residents” into letting them into their homes.

“Our workers always wear a company ID and are prepared to show credentials upon arrival at a customer’s home or business,” French said.

According to the release, customers who have given bank account information to someone they think may have been an impostor should call their bank and the local police department. Complaints or concerns can be filed with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at www.michigan.gov/ag and the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357.

For more information about UPPCO’s business practices, visit www.uppco.com.

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