Monday, October 7, 2013

Utility Scam Nets $300 Cash From Victim

Utilities Scam, Be Aware Area Residents

The following is a report from our patrol unit. The victim's name has been removed.

On 09/28/13 at approximately 1500 hours I was assigned a criminal impersonation and theft report. 
I contacted the complainant, by telephone.  She told me that on approximately 07/01/13 a man from Xcel Energy came to her home, in Mesa County, to collect money from a past due bill.  The man told her if she did not pay her bill he would have to shut off her power.  The man showed her a bill so she paid him $100.00 in cash.  The man did not give her a receipt. 
The man came back the next week, approximately 07/07/13 and again told her she was behind on her bill and showed her the past due bill.  She had $200.00 in cash so she paid him.  He did not give her a receipt. 
She said the man was "short," approximately 5'10" tall, 175 lbs, having a "slight pooch."  She said he had short, brown hair and was wearing blue jeans, and a t-shirt; a white t-shirt during the first contact and a blue / denim t-shirt during the second contact.
She said she has since moved out of that apartment and just recently attempted to get her electricity turned back on.  Xcel Energy told her they did not receive any payments from her and that the man who collected money from her does not work for Xcel.  Xcel refused to turn on the power until she pays the bill.  They told her a second option would be to file a police report, advising of the theft, and they would then turn on the power. 
I advised her this report would be completed and possibly available this Monday. 

From Xcel Energy's website on identifying their employees...

How to Identify an Xcel Energy Worker

You can always ask us for a company identification

Ask to see a company ID if someone on your property claims to be working for Xcel Energy, regardless of the work being performed. If the person cannot show you an ID, ask him or her to leave and return only with proper identification. If you have questions about someone claiming to work for Xcel Energy, please call our Customer Contact Center at 800-895-4999.
All Xcel Energy employees and most contractors who perform work for us carry company ID cards.
Typical examples of situations that require a utility worker to enter your home:
  • Natural gas-related issues
  • Appliance checks
  • Meter readings/checks
These situations are usually a response to a request that you initiated -- asking us to check a suspected gas odor or leak, to service appliances or check your meter -- or you are expecting the visit -- or for routine meter-reading visits.
Occasionally, we may ask for access into your home, but not in response to a request you have placed. This could occur if there has been a natural gas outage in your neighborhood and we need indoor access to relight the pilot lights on your gas appliances, or to perform a gas leak test.
Some situations may require that we enter your yard to:
  • Restore power associated with an electric outage in your neighborhood -- our work is usually performed on poles or metal pad-mounted cabinets
  • Change out or restore an outside meter that was temporarily shut off
  • Locate and/or dig for buried utilities
  • Trim trees away from power lines that run through your property
We encourage you to always ask for proof of identification.