Michigan AG warns residents to watch out for DTE Energy imposter scams

(Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)
(Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images) (2020 Edward Berthelot)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning residents to watch out for imposter scams related to DTE Energy.

DTE Energy reported that it has received complaints about calls that were made to customers by someone claiming to be a DTE Energy employee.

The scammer was telling customers that their power would be shut off unless they made a payment using bitcoin or a preloaded money card. Anytime someone asks for gift cards, bitcoin, or a preloaded money card this is a red flag.

When customers returned the call they were greeted by a spoof of a DTE employee who would appear to help the customer avoid a shutoff. It was an attempt to get personal information and cash.

Scammers can be convincing. They often target the most vulnerable citizens.

READ: Man posing as DTE worker steals over $5,000 from 90-year-old Wyandotte woman

DTE Energy and other utility companies will never:
Solicit personal information for a government program that claims to reduce energy bills.
Visit your home to collect a bill or threaten shutoff.
Show up unannounced at a customer’s home to inspect or repair equipment, investigate a leak or do a free audit for energy efficiency.
Request immediate payment, instructing customer to purchase a prepaid debit card, or any form of unusual payment.
Request personal or financial information, such as Social Security number, utility account number or payment information.
Claim a customer is entitled to a refund or rebate asking for bank account or credit card information to make the alleged refund.
Use aggressive tactics to get into a customer’s home.

Click here to reach out to the Help Me Hank team.


Other common scams

Scammers can approach potential victims in person, over the phone, via email, or even through the mail.

Some common scams to watch out for include IRS scams, social security scams, telephone scams, charity scams, romance scams and investment scams.

READ: Click here for the latest scam coverage

IRS scammers can target victims by mail, email or through a phone call. They will attempt to gain the victims banking information to steal their identity or money. During a social security scam, scammers pose as benefits investigators and tell the victim there’s a problem before asking for personal information or money.

How to avoid a scam

There are several ways you can avoid a scam according to the FTC.

When you get an unwanted call or text message, block that number. Don’t ever give your personal or financial information to someone you weren’t expecting. Legitimate organizations won’t call, email, or text to ask you for personal information.

Do not ever click links in text messages, even if it appears to be from an organization you trust. Go directly to their website instead.

Scammers will often make it seem like you have to act immediately, they will build pressure in an attempt to stop you from looking into their claims further. Legitimate businesses will give you time to make a decision.

Never pay anyone who asks you to pay using a gift card or a money transfer service. Never cash a check from a source you don’t know and send that money back to someone.

VIEW: The Better Business Bureau’s scam tracker

Tips and reporting

If you believe you’ve been contacted by a DTE Energy imposter, call 800-477-4747 to speak to a customer representative who can confirm the status of your account.

You can also file a complaint online with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team or call 877-765-8388.

Click here to access the online complaint form


About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.