Scam calls warning Ameren IL customers that they will have their power shut off within the hour are occurring in West Central Illinois.
Ameren Illinois customers in the Jacksonville area have reported receiving automated calls from a 217 area code phone number, informing the customer that their Ameren bill is delinquent and their service is set to be shut off “within the next 30 to 45 minutes.”
The automated message then asks the caller to “press 1 to speak with the billing and disconnections department for Ameren Illinois.”
Marcelyn Love, Spokesperson with Ameren Illinois says that Ameren has encountered these types of scams over the last several years and have a few tell-tale signs.
“Someone may call and indicate that you have 30 to 45 minutes to make a payment. In some cases they ask for a Green Dot prepaid Visa card, and if you do not make your payment they are threatening to disconnect service.
In particular, this usually causes a lot of panic for our business customers, and small business owners who may not have time right now with COVID, and everything going on are just particularly busy and may be caught off guard. It could be that someone else in their staff handles the bills so they are not sure if the bill has been paid or not, and that creates that sense of panic.
But then also, we have seen reports of calls where they will leave a message that asks the customer to give them a call back at a certain phone number, kind of mimicking a voice recording that appears to be from the utility company.”
The voice mail sounds like a legitimate automated voice call from Ameren, as evidenced by a recording WLDS News obtained of a scam currently circulating in Jacksonville.
Love reminds customers that they will receive several snail mail notices if they are behind on their bill. She says that if customers are unsure a call is legitimately from Ameren, they should hang up immediately and call their customer service hotline at 800-755-5000. She says that customers would also receive multiple options to pay.
Love also says that Ameren currently has a moratorium on disconnections. The Illinois Commerce Commission is expected to extend the moratorium this week until September 1st.