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Phone scammers targeting Hispanic homes with phony disconnection calls

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MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - A group of scammers is targeting Wisconsin households with Hispanic last names.

Alliant Energy spokeswoman Annemarie Newman says the callers are targeting Spanish speaking households. "Callers are claiming that their utility service is subject to disconnection if they do not make an immediate payment." The scammers then demand payment by a prepaid cash card like the Green Dot Card. Those cards are popular with criminals, because the money on them can be taken right away without any recourse on the part of the homeowner.

Newman says legitimate calls from the utility will try to set up payment plans or payments through secured sources like credit cards. "We don't demand immediate cash payment over the phone, so if you get one of these calls, hang up and call the utility to find out exactly what the status of your account is." Do not give out your social security number, bank information or any other sort of personal financial data over the phone to anyone who requests that information during an unsolicited phone call or an unannounced visit.

If you have been scammed, call police or your utility.

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