User uShare Login | Register
Login
Register

Along with posting photos, videos, and stories, your uShare account lets you post Classified Ads, recipes on What's For Dinner, and Announcements.


55° View Weather Current Conditions Sioux Falls Change Location
Set Weather Options

RADAR LOCATION

TEMPERATURE LOCATION

News

[0] My Saved Articles
Back to all news

Business

Find local businesses
on the KELO Pages!

 

Power Company Scam Targets Businesses

April 30, 2014, 10:10 PM by Angela Kennecke

Power Company Scam Targets Businesses
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

It's the busiest time of the day and a restaurant gets a call that the power is being shut off if it doesn't pony up the money for the electric bill immediately. 

Lucy Welbig is the cook at Botski's Bar & Grill.  She was in the middle of a busy Saturday lunch rush when she got the call. 

"And the gentleman on the line said, ‘We have a work order from Xcel Energy to shut you down at 1 o'clock if your bill isn't paid,’" Welbig said.

That just didn't sound right to Welbig.

"And I said, ‘I know the bill was paid.’ I was standing back there when Jon O. wrote the check.  I even mailed it," Welbig said.

But she was told Xcel never got it and she had until 1 p.m. to pay up, or the power would be shut off, leaving all the customers in the dark.

"My heart was going a million miles an hour," Welbig said.

But when it came to the amount of that supposed overdue bill, something just didn't add up.

"I asked him, why was it so much more than what the bill was?  And he said, 'Well, there's a service charge. You didn't get it paid, so now you're being charged for it,’" Welbig said.

"It's our biggest bill," owner Jon Bot said. 

Bot wasn't in the bar at the time.  But Welbig wasn't waiting for him to return.

"Something wasn't right.  So I went and dug out the Xcel Energy bill and there is an 800 number on here, so I called it," Welbig said.

That's when she got a recording from Xcel Energy letting her know the whole thing was a scam. Xcel says it's seen a dramatic rise in its business customers being targeted. 

"So if someone happens to be late with a payment, you would get a notice from us through the US Postal Service.  And then a couple of months later if you still hadn't paid, and we were thinking about disconnecting, you would get a disconnect notice," Jim Wilcox of Xcel Energy said.

Wilcox says after all that, you may get a phone call.  But Xcel works hard with its customers to keep the lights on. 

"It makes me sick.  After that day, I thought what if it does happen to people and it has to happen to small businesses; they're smart. They called us when we were very vulnerable. We've got the busiest part of our day happening. We'd better take care of this," Bot said.

Bot is just glad they didn't thanks to Welbig's quick thinking. 

"I couldn't have asked for any employee to handle it any better," Bot said.

Typically the scammers ask businesses to load the money on a pre-paid credit card and give them the number or wire it.  Xcel Energy says it would never demand payment in this way.

Xcel Energy Avoiding Scams

Previous Story

Next Story


Comments







 
Find Local Businesses on KELO Pages!

View business

You may also like

First DTSF Incubator Store Open For Business

7/23/2014 6:30 AM

605 Running Co., 124 S. Phillips Avenue, just opened its doors on Friday. It's a big grand opening for the store, but also for Downtown ...

Full Story | Watch
Sioux Falls No Longer Best Small City

7/25/2014 11:12 AM

Sioux Falls is no longer the nation's best small city for business and careers.

Full Story
Fruit From Walmart And Costco May Be Contaminated

7/22/2014 11:23 AM

A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concern...

Full Story
Third Walmart Preparing To Open In Sioux Falls

7/22/2014 6:10 PM

Sioux Falls latest Walmart store is preparing to open in just a few weeks.

Full Story
Iowa Town Bracing For Closure Of Tyson Foods Plant

7/27/2014 3:31 PM

One small northwest Iowa town is preparing to deal with the loss of 450 jobs this fall when the Tyson Foods plant in Cherokee closes, and business own...

Full Story


Events