The following is a press release from Xcel Energy:

AMARILLO, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) — Xcel Energy has received several reports of attempted phone scams against Texas and New Mexico customers and is reminding business and residential customers how to protect themselves from falling victim to scams.

“Scammers are always looking for new ways to fool us, but there are several ways to determine when a caller is not who they claim to be,” said Brad Baldridge, Xcel Energy director of Customer and Community Relations. “We are asking customers to familiarize themselves with the scammers’ tactics, and when in doubt, call us.”

In most scenarios, the scammer tells the customer their account is past due and service will be disconnected if a large payment isn’t made – usually within the hour. The scammer then instructs the customer to purchase a pre-paid debit or credit card – widely available at retail stores – and demands the customer call back to supposedly make a payment to the utility. These scammers often sound professional and may also manipulate caller ID so numbers look like they’re coming from Xcel Energy.

Even when a caller sounds legitimate, here are some quick warning signs for customers:

  • Customers should be very suspicious if a caller requires a single form of payment, such as requiring the use of a prepaid debit card. Xcel Energy offers many options for payment and will never ask or require a customer with a past due account to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
  • Xcel Energy customers will initially be contacted by U.S. mail about past due bills, not over the phone. You will also be sent a disconnection notice in writing before your power is actually turned off.
  • Customers should never wire money, provide bank card numbers, and social security numbers to an unverified source.

Customers with any doubt about the authenticity of someone claiming to be from Xcel Energy and asking for payment should hang up immediately. They can also access their current account information online through our MyAccount service. Customers should then call Xcel Energy Customer Service at 1-800-895-4999 or our Business Solutions Center at 1-800-481-4700 (M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.) to report the experience. By calling these numbers, customers can count on the help of a legitimate representative. Information provided will be shared with investigators to aid in possible criminal investigation. Affected customers should also contact local authorities to file a criminal complaint.

Xcel Energy’s website has much more information to help people avoid phone, email, in person and employment scams.

About Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

(Press release from Xcel Energy)