Scammers are using the cold weather to prey on Montana consumers and businesses. The Better Business Bureau says it's had reports of imposters claiming to be from the local utility are threatening to turn off the power if they are not immediately paid in full.
There are things Montanans can do to protect themselves from these scammers.
These scammers like to call late on a Friday when the forecast is for cold temperatures, to get consumers to take action, said Dan Buchta, Montana Marketplace Director with the Better Business Bureau.
“They are counting on that you are going to be scared and you are not going to have utilities over the weekend, and you are going to act immediately,” Buchta said. “ You are not going to do what you should do, which is get your last statement out and check to see if there is a check number associated with that statement that has cleared with your bank. You should take a step back and do your homework.”
Another clue is the scammers want immediate payment; they will not accept a check or credit card. Instead they want a prepaid credit card or wire transfer, either form of payment will not allow you to get your money back.
And he says you should call the utility company’s 800 number yourself, even if the caller ID looks legitimate because it probably is fake.
Buchta says if the scammers come to the door, do not let them in. They are crooks and may try to steal from your home.
Anyone who believes she or he may be a victim of a scam should contact their local law enforcement and report it to the BBB Scam tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.