MADISON (WITI) -- That utility bill you received by email for $500, $524 or $524.30? It’s a fake. Delete it and never click the link in the message.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has received a handful of complaints from consumers who received a fraudulent bill for utility services from “Energy Billing Service” or “Energy Billing System.”
The email addresses from which the scams originate are different, but many of the addresses appear to be based overseas.
In addition to the complaints received by DATCP, We Energies informed the agency that more than 50 of its customers have reported similar messages to the company’s call center.
"This is not the way we solicit payment from our customers. We'd rather have people double check and call us to verify anything," Cathy Schulze with We Energies said.
The email messages include a link to “view your most recent bill.” Clicking that link could cause you to accidentally download a malware package or could direct you to a scam website where you are prompted to turn over personal or banking information.
Kenneth Frye got one of these emails in his inbox last week -- saying he owed $524.30. To view the bill -- he would have to click a link.
"It said something about your account being due and contact this weblink to set up an account and review your bill and everything else. There was no logo on it or anything on there. I knew it wasn't from We Energies. I'm quite skeptical of anything I don't understand. I wanted to do something and not just trash it," Frye said.
"People are just so used to seeing emails just like this -- they may not recognize it as a fraudulent email," Sandy Chalmers with the DATCP said.
As with any other unsolicited email or text message from an unknown source, simply delete it and take no further action.
For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at datcp.wisconsin.gov, send an e-mail to email@example.com or call the Consumer Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.