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Beware: Phone Scam Targets Utility Customers

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Con asks customers to purchase prepaid debit cards as bill payment

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. – Spurred by customer reports, NIPSCO is warning customers about a bill payment scam in which victims are asked to purchase a prepaid debit card to settle an overdue balance.
Customers have reported receiving unsolicited phone calls from individuals falsely claiming to be NIPSCO representatives. The scammers threaten disconnection of the customer’s electric service if an immediate payment is not made. They direct the customer to purchase a prepaid debit card – many reports specifically reference a “Green Dot Debit Card” – and call back with a receipt and PIN, giving the scammers access to the card’s funds.

Both residential and business customers have been targeted by the scammers. A number of reports have come from Spanish-speaking customers.

Helpful Reminders to Keep Customers Safe from Utility Scams
In an effort to keep customers safe from scams, NIPSCO reminds customers:
  • NIPSCO never asks for customers who are behind on payments to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection. Customers have the following payment options: online, by phone, by mail or in person at one of NIPSCO’s authorized payment locations.
  • Never give personal information, including Social Security numbers and banking information, to unconfirmed sources. NIPSCO only asks for a Social Security number when a customer is applying for new service.
  • If you are unsure about the legitimacy of any programs or offers claiming to be affiliated with NIPSCO, please call our 24-Hour Customer Service Center at 1-800-4NIPSCO (1-800-464-7726).
  • Legitimate bill assistance programs are available to qualifying customers. For more information on these offerings, visit NIPSCO.com/PaymentAssistance.

NIPSCO, with headquarters in Merrillville, Ind., is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI). With more than 786,000 natural gas customers and 457,000 electric customers across the northern third of Indiana, NIPSCO is the largest natural gas distribution company, and the second largest electric distribution company, in the state. NiSource distribution companies serve 3.8 million natural gas and electric customers primarily in seven states. More information about NIPSCO is available at www.nipsco.com.
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