Scammers claiming to work for MGE demand immediate payment, threaten to cut power

Officials warn customers to be cautious

MADISON, Wis. - Madison Gas and Electric and law enforcement officials are warning consumers about an uptick in utility scams. 

The scammers are contacting MGE customers and threatening to shut down their power unless they pay an outstanding bill. MGE officials said the scammers typically only give the customer an hour to pay the bill and give instructions to pay with a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. 

A release from MGE warned that the scammers continue to get more sophisticated and are now able to manipulate the caller ID to make it appear as though the call is coming from MGE. 

MGE officials said the Customer Center has received dozens of calls this week from customers who were targets of the scam.

Madison Police Department officials also reported a similar scam. The victim said they were told they had an outstanding bill of  several hundred dollars and that, if it was not paid within 45 minutes, the power would be cut off. The victim was told to go to Walgreens and buy a cash card to pay the outstanding bill. 

The Madison victim did not fall for the scam. Police Department officials warned that many  scammers ask people to pay in cash cards, and warned people to be extra cautious when asked to pay in that manner. 

Officials with MGE hopes to spread the word that MGE will never call and demand immediate payment from a customer or threaten to disconnect power within an hour. Officials said that when a customer faces disconnection for nonpayment, they will send several past-due notifications in writing. 

During Consumer Protection Week, News 3 hosted a panel of experts who offered advice on how to report scams and protect personal information



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