State officials warning of fraudulent phone calls

MADISON (WITI) -- State officials are warning residents about fraudulent phone calls from imposters who claim to work for the local electric company.

These phony customer service representatives appear to be targeting Latino consumers in an attempt to collect payment for what they claim are “past due statements.”  They instruct their victims to wire money or load money onto a prepaid debit card immediately to avoid having their power shut off.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has seen an increase in the number of calls from Spanish-speaking consumers who have been contacted in these scams.

DATCP has long been alerting consumers to scams in which crooks use prepaid cards and wire transfers to accept payment for a variety of supposedly legitimate transactions.  This most recent rash of scams seems to be specifically targeting Hispanic consumers across the state.  Here is how it works:

    If you are contacted by someone saying you owe money to your utility company:

      For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at, send an e-mail to or call the Consumer Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.