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Residents are on high alert after strangers posed as power company employees to get money.

The scammers ask to inspect your bill, steal your information and then hit you with a power bill of their own.

"That's a complete lie, complete fabrication. It's a falsehood," said Phyllis Thorne.

One of the scammers went to Thorne's home pretending to work for Consumers Energy. Thorne said the man was alone and did not have a Consumers Energy vehicle. He told Thorne he was there to update the meter that was installed at her home a couple months earlier.

"I'm like, 'No, I think you did that two or three months ago.' 'Oh, no. We're checking on the smart meters.' And I said, 'Can I see your badge,'" Thorne said.

Thorne said the man showed her a badge, but covered up the numbers. He also asked to see her bill.

Thorne got suspicious and called Consumers. The company verified the person at her door was not their employee. Thorne called the police and the man left.

"What they're trying to do is get a code off the back of your bill to double bill you for your gas," Thorne said.

Consumers Energy spokesperson Debra Dodd said should customers choose an alternate energy supplier they will not be double billed.

"The cost of the use of the gas commodity would be charged by that supplier instead of Consumers Energy. Consumers Energy would continue to bill the customer, but at the commodity charged by that supplier/company," Dodd said.

She also had some advice in case a scammer comes to your door.

"Well, our employees all carry ID and should have it visible or be prepared to show it readily if somebody asks them," Dodd said.

If they don't, Dodd says to do what Thorne did.

"We also would recommend that you make a complaint with the Michigan Public Service Commission if you feel like these companies are not representing themselves in a trustworthy manner," Dodd said.

Thorne said the man has been back in her south side Saginaw neighborhood.

"If you don't see a Consumers Energy vehicle out and if you don't see clearly that that badge says Consumers Energy, don't show them any information. Tell them to get off your property and call the police," Thorne said.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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