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.”