BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Xcel Energy is the latest business whose name is being used to try and trick people with false payments, and the power company is doing all it can to alert its customers of ways to avoid being scammed.

According to a press release put out by Xcel, when people begin to search for the company’s phone number online, they will, on occasion, come across a number that connects them to scammers who will collect customer details (such as social security and credit card numbers) and ask for payment upfront to complete their transaction. In some cases, customers may not notice at first, because some scammers will contact Excel and start a new service using the customer’s information.

Xcel states that they do not charge customers upfront for services, and any fees associated with trasnsactions will instead appear on a customer’s next bill. If you are asked to pay up front, hang up.

The company adds customers should be cautious, but as we’ve learned in the past, some scam calls can sound very legitimate. As such, it’s important to consider small aspects that may be potential warning signs of a scam. Here are a few glaring giveaways that you aren’t speaking with the real Xcel Energy:

  • If the caller requires any form of payment, such as requiring a prepaid debit card, hang up and report a scam. Xcel Energy will never ask for debt payment via a prepaid card.
  • Xcel energy will always contact an individual about bills via US Mail first, not over the phone. You will also be sent a disconnection notice before your power is disconnected.
  • Never wire money, provide bank card numbers, or social security numbers to an unverified source.

If you believe you have been scammed, you can confirm the situation and inform Xcel Energy by calling their customer service line at 1-800-895-4999 or their Business Solutions Center at 1-800-481-4700 from Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. to obtain help from real Xcel representatives. Information provided during these calls will be shared with criminal investigators.

For more information on how to avoid Xcel Energy scams, visit the company’s website. Customers can also access their information and the proper numbers to call through Xcel’s My Account service.