March 11, 2017
20th Judicial District
District Attorney Michael Dougherty
Community Protection Division: 303-441-3700
Consumer and Business Advisory from District Attorney Stan Garnett
(Boulder County, Colo.) -- Fake Phone Solicitations Purporting to be from Xcel Energy
Boulder County residents and business owners have reported
to the Community Protection Division of the District Attorney’s Office that
they have received phone calls from persons identifying themselves as employees
of Xcel Energy. These callers tell residents that their bill is past due, and unless they pay immediately, their power will be turned off.
The callers then instruct residents to go to local grocery stores or retail
stores to transfer money via “wire” to a particular account to pay the late
Xcel energy, according to their website, only accepts payments through their website portal, over the phone, in person,
or by mail. They do NOT accept payments by wire. Wire transfers are a frequent tool for scammers. Like many
reputable companies, Xcel Energy’s website has information for consumers who
are having trouble paying their bill or are making late payments. Their
website has a phone number to call to make arrangements for late payments.
Residents are urged to be wary of phone solicitations
indicating a bill is late, and the resident is told they will face immediate
consequences unless payment is made through an unconventional method, such as
the wiring of funds.
Residents receiving calls like these should check out the real situation with Xcel before making any payment. If you suspect you are the target of a scam, try to
get basic information from the caller including their name, phone number, and
supervisor’s name. After hanging up, use the Internet to find
the company listing and call that number to verify any of the information
provided by the suspected scammer.
Never give out personal information over the phone if you
receive a call like this. Personal information would include any personal
identifying information (such as your date of birth or social security
number). Don’t provide any account information you may have used to set
up an on-line account such as passwords, usernames and answers to your security
questions. Also, don’t provide any financial information such as bank
account numbers, routing numbers, or credit card numbers.
“This type of scam preys on a person’s fear of losing an
essential service, such as their electrical service,” District Attorney Stan
Garnett warns. “If you receive one of these calls, it is likely to be a scam. Hang up, then call the
company yourself and verify any information given to you. You shouldn't expect to have to wire money for utilities.”
Consumers and local businesses can call the Community protection Division of the District Attorney's Office at 303 441 3700.