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As temperatures drop, scam potential could rise. Here's how to protect your money

In 2022, consumers lost $8.8 billion due to scams. Wisconsin Public Service gives red flags on utility scams.
Posted at 9:04 PM, Oct 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-20 22:05:22-04
  • WPS, Law enforcement advising the community to be aware of utility scams.
  • WPS spokesperson suggests that colder seasons could lead to more scams.
  • In 2022, consumers lost $8.8 billion to scams. Imposter, shopping, and sweepstakes scams are most common.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

A spokesperson for Wisconsin Public Service, Matt Cullens, said: "The weather is changing, colder weather is on the way and people are thinking about how do I get my home ready."

He also adds, "This provides an opportunity for scammers, for criminals to perhaps reach out to our customers."

In 2022, theFederal Trade Commission reported that consumers nearly lost $8.8 billion to scams with frequent scam tactics being imposters, online shopping, and sweepstakes prizes.

Now, WPS warns the community of utility scams.

"The last thing that anyone wants to be is without heat as we head into the winter," Cullens said.

Cullens said the colder months could mean more scammers.

"This might provide the opportunity for scammers to reach out to customers and again use deceptive tactics to make them think that there's an issue with their account," Cullens said.

WPS teamed up with law enforcement throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin to help people become aware of red flags that are unique to utility scams.

"(Scammers are) getting Wisconsin Public Service to appear on Caller ID, perhaps playing a recording that sounds like it's coming from Wisconsin Public Service," Cullens said. "(They) demand immediate payment or they will threaten you with disconnection of your energy service in a very short amount of time. a third-party payment app such as Venmo or Zelle and they may even ask for something like Crypto-currency to pay your utility bill."

WPS and law enforcement are using social media sites to spread the word.

"We really can help our customers make sure that they're staying safe and help anyone from falling victim to a utility scam," Cullens said.

For more warning signs of a possible scam, click here.