In two days this week, Idaho Falls Power received more than 25 phone calls about a scam going around town.
Many Idaho Falls residents have received targeted phone calls from someone claiming to be Idaho Falls Power. In the phone call, a voice informs the receiver that their power will be shut off in 30 minutes if they do not pay a bill immediately over the phone.
According to Joelyn Hansen, customer relations supervisor at Idaho Falls Power, the phone calls are scams.
There are several warning signs that customers can watch for, Hansen said.
Idaho Falls Power does not turn off power when temperatures are below 30 degrees. So if that threatening phone call comes on a cold day, there is no way power would be turned off. Idaho Falls Power also does not notify customers of overdue bills via phone call. That overdue notification would be attached to a bill issued through the mail. The power company also does not turn off power at the last minute; customers are given a specific date for when power will be turned off.
Hansen also noted that one of the most obvious indicators of a scam is getting the name wrong.
“Many times they will say something like ‘Idaho Power,’” Hansen said.
Hansen also advises customers to check their bills. Because the scammers target random people, often the customers getting the scam calls don’t even have an overdue bill.
“Those are all major red flags,” Hansen said.
Though this particular scam may be new, phone scams are not. A report published by Truecaller, a spam call blocking app, said 1 in every 6 American adults lost money due to scam calls in 2018. Each victim lost an average of $244, with Americans losing a total of $10.5 billion from such scams in 2018.
Hansen’s most important advice for people who get these scam calls is to hang up and call the local Idaho Falls Power phone number.
“We are always willing to verify the situation of customers’ accounts,” Hansen said.
Idaho Falls Power can be reached at 208-612-8430.