SIOUX CITY | Utility customers are encouraged to contact authorities if they see scammers threatening to shut off power unless the person makes a payment over the phone with a prepaid debit card.

MidAmerican Energy in a Friday release said scammers are posing as utility employees and making threats about the loss of power if the payment isn't made over the phone. Since scammers can be persistent and persuasive, MidAmerican said customers receiving these calls should hang up the phone immediately and call police.

In the most recent calls, scammers have targeted commercial customers amid the holiday shopping season. Some scammers can alter the Caller ID function to make the call appear as if it is coming from the utility.

Some may impersonate energy auditors in an attempt to get inside homes or businesses, or intimidate customers by showing up at their front doors and claiming a crew is en route to disconnect service.

For more information, visit www.midamericanenergy.com/scams. The Consumer Protection Division of the Iowa Attorney General’s office has also set up a hotline with more information on the scam at 515-725-5387.

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County and education reporter

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