Versant Power is educating its customers and others about phone scams that try to get your money by threatening to shut off your power.

How Does the Scam Work?

There's already so much to worry about this winter. The cost of heating our homes is going through the roof. Snow is coming and so who's going to plow the driveway? Are your tires good enough to deal with snow and ice? So the last thing you need to worry about is whether that's actually Versant calling, claiming they're going to shut off your electricity.

It's a common scam that uses sophisticated tactics to try and incite fear in the intended victims. Someone calls and tells you they're with Versant Power and that you have an outstanding balance. They tell you that you must pay the balance immediately or they're going to shut off your power. Then they offer options on how to pay, including prepaid debit cards, gift cards, cryptocurrency, or through a third-party digital mobile application. You don't want to lose your electricity, which would likely mean losing your heat source, so you pay them what they say you owe. Right?

How Do We Know It's a Scam?

Wrong. Versant Power Security Specialist Dave Bowler says this would never be a legitimate call with one of their representatives.

A Versant representative will never call you demanding immediate payment with a threat of disconnection. If the call you receive doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

There are a few clues in the above scenario that should make you suspicious:

  • The caller wants payment immediately, without even the offer of a payment plan.
  • You haven't received anything in writing from the power company alerting you of an impending disconnection of service prior to the call.
  • They suggest unusual methods of payment, like gift cards, prepaid debit cards, and cryptocurrency.

One thing we should mention - it's entirely possible your caller ID could say Versant Power. Don't let that fool you. Scammers can 'spoof' phone numbers, to make their faked call look like it's from a legitimate source.

What Do We Do If We Get a Scam Call?

Bowler says anyone who gets one of these calls should hang up immediately and call Versant directly at 207-973-2000. Do NOT call the number that appeared on your caller ID, as it's probably a fake.  A representative will be able to answer your questions about your bill, any outstanding balance, and whether your account is in danger of being disconnected. Chances are, it isn't. And, if you do receive one of these scam calls, Versant executives encourage you to contact your local law enforcement agency, as well as the Maine Attorney General's Office. 

By the way, this same scam could apply to customers of Central Maine Power. Those folks should call CMP at 800-750-4000 to get legitimate answers to their questions.

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