When you hear someone knocking on your door, it’s reasonable to expect a friendly face. But for some DTE Energy customers, they open the door to find someone claiming to be a DTE employee who is not. This is how many scams begin, and we need YOUR help to make sure your family, friends and neighbors don’t become the latest energy scam victims.  

DTE has seen an uptick in customer scams recently, with imposters taking advantage of our most vulnerable customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Utility imposters typically call customers pretending to be employees and ask for sensitive information or immediate payment, or ask to be invited inside a home pretending to be DTE employees.

Recently, an elderly customer invited a thief inside the home after an imposter unexpectedly turned up at their door. After verifying that this customer lived alone, the imposter said he was a DTE employee needing to test the electrical box in the basement this customer’s home. The imposter then had the customer turn on and off circuits at the electrical box while the scammer remained upstairs robbing the home. 

Scammers are also targeting victims over the phone. In recent incidents, scammers called customers demanding that if they don’t receive immediate payment power will be shut off. Technology has enhanced con artists’ believability because caller ID may show the call is coming from our company. In some cases, the perpetrators provide callback numbers that answer with a recorded greeting that is similar to the one on DTE’s customer service line. Scammers typically demand payment via Bitcoin, Green Dot debit card, Western Union wire transfer, gift cards or cash, which are not forms of payment DTE accepts. 

“Utility imposters are creative and smart when it comes to deceiving customers,” said Jason Smith, Chief Security Officer, DTE Energy. “The most beneficial thing we can do is educate our customers about the red flags of utility imposters.”  ​​​​​​​

Recognizing the red flags of utility imposters could be the difference between falling victim to a scam or outsmarting the scammer. Know these tips and share them with family, friends and members of your community to so we can protect against scammers. 


Know the red flags  

  • Someone asks for your account number 

DTE does not ask customers to provide their account numbers. Customers will be asked to validate account information such as the billing zip code, or last four digits of their Social Security number prior to discussing account details to protect our customers’ private information. DTE does not call for payment if the account is in good standing. If a customer is behind on payments, DTE will mail a warning notice, providing the steps to restore the account to good standing and continue service. 

  • Bullying  

Alarm bells should ring when someone calls and says a crew is on the way to shut off service unless there’s an immediate payment. The more aggressive the caller, the more skeptical customers should be.

  • Demanding a specific form of payment 

DTE does not demand a specific form of payment. In fact, our company provides a variety of payment options, including credit cards, debit cards, bank/ACH transfers and more. If a caller insists on payment via a prepaid debit card — especially a specific brand of prepaid card — it is a scam. 

On the phone  

  • DO NOT trust caller ID. Scammers are using caller ID spoofing to make the call appear to originate from our company. If you suspect the call may be fraudulent, hang up and call Customer Service, 800.477.4747. Similar scams also spoof caller ID and claim to be the IRS and other credible sources.  

  • Ask for identification. Pull out your most recent energy bill and ask the caller to tell you the account number and the amount due.  

  • If you have received a call of this nature and believe you are the victim of fraud, contact your local police immediately.

At the door  

  • Ask for identification. All employees and contractors carry photo identification badges and are required to display their badge if asked. If you are unsure about an employee’s identification or want to verify the nature of the work to be done at your home, call Customer Service, 800.477.4747.  

  • Do not allow people into your home who:  

  • Claim to offer a refund. DTE employees never deliver cash refunds or rebates to customers’ homes.  

  • Attempt to collect a bill payment. DTE DOES NOT collect or accept utility bill payments at customers’ homes or businesses.  

DTE encourages customers to call the police if you believe the person at your door is a con artist posing as a utility worker.

On the web  

  • The web is increasingly being used to commit fraud and identity theft. Scammers use e-mail, text messaging and social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.  

  • Never give out personal information, including Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers over the Internet to someone you do not know.  

  • If you suspect you have been fraudulently contacted, call Customer Service at 800.477.4747 to speak with a customer service representative who can confirm the status of your account and make appropriate arrangements for payment, if needed. 

For customers in situations where their identity may be compromised, DTE advises all customers to call their local police, take advantage of free credit reporting, watch for new accounts opened in their name and report any unusual activity to our company immediately.