10/1/2013

I&M WARNS CUSTOMERS OF ONGOING SCAM ATTEMPTS

FORT WAYNE, Ind., Oct.1, 2013 – Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) customers continue to be targeted by telephone scammers who falsely represent themselves as company personnel in an attempt to collect money fast.  The caller threatens to cut off the electric service if money is not paid immediately by credit card, Green Dot Money Card, or a variety of other types of prepaid cash cards.  In another version of the scam, the caller says the victim’s electric meter must be immediately replaced to avoid a fire, and the victim is instructed to pay fees using a money order or prepaid cash card.                                    

While any customer can be targeted by a scammer, I&M’s ethnic business customers, whose native language is not English, are frequent victims.  Eighty scam attempts have been reported to I&M from January through August of this year.  In August alone, 10 customers called I&M to report they had been contacted by a scammer.  Seven out of the 10 scam attempts were non-residential customers.  These types of scams are not unique to I&M’s customers as electric consumers throughout the country are being targeted.

I&M will not call and ask that a bill or any fees associated with meter replacement be paid using a money order or prepaid cash card.  If customers have questions regarding the status of electric service or have questions on how to make a legitimate payment they should have their account number ready and call our Customer Solutions Center at 1-800-311-4634 (Indiana) or 1-800-311-6424 (Michigan).

If a call is received that may be a fraudulent scam attempt, customers should contact the police and then call I&M.  I&M encourages customers to report scam incidents so that a thorough investigation can be conducted and the necessary action be taken to prevent the scammer from victimizing more customers.

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Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its 2,500 employees serve more than 582,000 customers. It operates 3,595 MW of coal-fired generation in Indiana, 2,110 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan and 22 MW of hydro generation in both states.  The company also provides its customers 250 MW of purchased wind generation.

I&M is a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 39,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.

Erica Putt
Indiana Michigan Power Communications
(260) 408-3482
ehputt@aep.com