COLUMBUS — With Nebraskans dealing with challenging times due to the COVID-19 outbreak, phone scammers are still on the prowl, according to Nebraska Public Power District.

NPPD reported a growing number of scam calls being reported by customers late last week.

“Unfortunately, this is the type of scam that impacts many of our customers periodically and are coming at a time that is difficult for our customers,” NPPD’s Tim Arlt said. “Anyone who receives such a call should not let their guard down and should contact our team and law enforcement immediately. Protecting our customers is a top priority, especially during these difficult times for all.”

These predatory individuals state the bill must be paid immediately or the power will be shut off and will recommend several methods of payment. Sometimes, the scammer’s caller-identification is falsified so it appears to originate from the utility company, a practice known as ‘spoofing.’

To help customers be wary of such scams, NPPD offers the following tips and suggestions:

- NPPD, as a business practice, does not call to ask customers for a credit card number.

- NPPD does not demand payment with a prepaid card.

- Any customer receiving such a call should not attempt to make payment over the phone using a credit or debit card.

- Write down the call back number or consider asking where the caller is located.

- Contact law enforcement.

- Let NPPD’s Centralized Customer Care Center at 1-877-ASK-NPPD (877-275-6773) know about the call.

- If served electrically by a rural public power district or municipality, customers should contact that organization before providing any type of payment.