Consumers Energy scam reaches Mid-Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Consumers Energy scam reaches Mid-Michigan

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MERRILL, MI (WNEM) -

Someone is calling local businesses and residents, claiming they're with Consumers Energy and demanding payment.

The scammers got a hold of a Mid-Michigan woman who wouldn't fall for it.

"I pulled out the current bill, I started talking to them, arguing with them, cause my bill isn't due until the 31," Cathy Holt said.

Holt received that phone call Wednesday night at her business EJ's Bar and Grill in Merrill. She knew something was fishy because the caller kept insisting they were from Consumers Energy and a crew was coming out to turn off her power unless she paid up right now.

"The only way we could avoid this situation was to go to a pay station and get something called a Green Dot Money Card," Holt said. 

The money card is basically a money order. Holt sent her husband Bill to a local store to check it out. Meanwhile the scammers called her back several times.

"Every time he called me back it was a different voice on the phone, same name, different voice," she said.

She then received another call from the person who supposedly was on the way to turn off her power. He didn't have the right address, which set off another red flag for Holt.

Holt's husband then called her to let her know that he got a hold of Consumers, who confirmed it's a scam and not to pay any money. Then Bill Holt also contacted a sheriff's deputy who showed up at the bar who actually talked with a scammer.

"Why are you telling them you work for Consumers then, and he said because people are stupid and they believe it," Cathy Holt said, recalling the incident.

Meanwhile she hopes this warning helps other residents particularly senior citizens.

"I guess they target old folks and businesses during peak hours, it was peak hour, it was dinner rush," Cathy Holt said.

She has one more piece of advice for residents who get such a call.

"They are very convincing, but if you push them and they get real nervous, real short," she said.

Apparently this is happening in other parts of the country. A similar scam was reported Thursday in Tennessee.

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