Scam Alert: Fake NIPSCO employees asking for personal info

Updated: Mar. 30, 2023 at 6:15 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Now to a scam alert that’s trying to trick people into giving out personal information by claiming it will help them save on their gas bill.

Several residents living on South Bend’s west side reported a group of men in reflective vests going door to door asking for a recent copy of their gas bill.

Well when opportunity knocks, it’s best to have some follow-up questions.

The residents we spoke to said that’s how they were able to spot the scam that’s making its annual return to their area.

“They’ve showed up before so I kind of knew who they were when they showed up to our door,” said South Bend resident Marie Pynaert.

This is how that resident living on College Street described her conversation with these people asking to see a copy of her latest utility bill claiming to be with a company that just purchased NIPSCO.

“Since I knew what he was doing, he just started talking and said he had read my meter and we were being overcharged by double. I said, ‘who are you with’? He just kept repeating you’ve been overcharged. I said, ‘you need to go’ and he just kept yelling at me that we’re being overcharged so I just shut the door and went back in,” Pynaert said.

Pynaert added that she’s never had someone from NIPSCO come to her front door, so this immediately seemed out of the ordinary.

Other neighbors noticed other red flags suggesting these guys might not be legit.

“You know, when you see NIPSCO, you always see the vehicle and I didn’t see any vehicle, and they never showed me any credentials. When he did show me something, it was covered in plastic, but it was all tattered and stuff,” said South Bend resident Wade Pacely.

NIPSCO confirmed that these scammers are not affiliated with their company, but they are aware that this is a popular scam strategy.

In fact, you’ll find a disclaimer on your bill that says your first step should always be to ask for identification from anyone claiming to be with NIPSCO.

If they show you an ID that looks like anything other than this, you should end the conversation, and follow up with their Customer Care Center: 1-800-464-7726.

They say to never share any account numbers, personal info, or payment methods with anyone you’re not 100% sure is one of their employees.

If they make any claims about your account status or billing, you should verify those claims by checking your account online.

You can also always call NIPSCO anytime you’re unsure about who might be at your front door.

The final and most important step after you think you’ve been targeted for a scam is to report it to the police.