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Scammers pose as We Energies, threaten to cut off heat

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - Scammers are using falling temperatures to steal thousands of dollars from Wisconsin residents.

They are posing as We Energies and using threats to get people to pay up.

Antonio Ingrilli has seen his share of scams in almost 50 years in business with Caterina’s Ristorante

“You learn pretty fast how to handle the situation,” said Ingrilli.

Just recently he got a scam call that’s making its way around the state of Wisconsin.

“We Energies has had 600 complaints in the last month,” said Jim Temmer from the Better Business Bureau.

Scammers are calling businesses, and people, and claiming to be representatives from We Energies.

They say they will shut off your heat if you don’t pay them right now.

“They are going to want you to go out and get a prepaid debit card, get a Green Dot card, whatever it is, and then they are going to want those numbers and then they have the money,” said Temmer.

Temmer says that should be a red flag.

We Energies would never ask you to get a prepaid card, and they wouldn’t strong arm you by threatening to shut off your heat.

“Never,” said Temmer, “We Energies isn’t going to use those kind of heavy handed tactics and ask you to pay with a prepaid debit card, it’s an out and out scam.”

The scammers can spoof We Energies’ phone number and even their theme music.

If you get a call and aren’t sure, Temmer says just hang up.

You can call We Energies directly at 800-242-9137 and ask them about your account.

As for Ingrilli, he handled it the old fashioned way.  “Why don’t you come down, I’ll pay you, I want to see your face so I can beat, whatever, and he hang up the phone,” smiled Ingrilli.

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