Farmington Hills police issued a warning Friday about a scam that starts with a caller threatening to cut off electrical service if “past due” bills aren’t paid.
According to a press release, a number of residents have reported calls from people posing at DTE Energy employees. The callers provide directions to “the nearest DTE payment center,” which is actually a Bitcoin machine.
The scammer then sends a QR access code, which includes the DTE logo, and the resident deposits cash using the code. In some cases, the caller will attempt to convince the resident that they have not deposited the correct amount and ask for more money.
Once deposited in the Bitcoin machine, funds cannot be recovered.
Police say this scam first surfaced in 2019 across metro Detroit and appears to be making a resurgence. According to the DTE website, if you suspect a fraudulent call, hang up, call DTE’s toll-free number, 800-477-4747, and tell a customer service representative what happened.
Police also offer these tips:
- As a general rule, do not answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize.
- If you receive a voicemail directing you to make payments through either Bitcoin or gift cards, do not call back the number that was left on the voicemail. Find the company’s phone number online or log in to your personal accounts to verify if the call was legitimate.
- If you are unable to reach anyone at the actual company, call your local police department before sending any payments.
If you believe you’ve been scammed, file a report with your local police department. If you have information regarding these scams, call 248 871-2610.