2 Kansas utility companies warn of imposter scams

Published: Jul. 31, 2019 at 3:53 PM CDT
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Two Kansas energy companies want to warn customers about potential scammers.

Both Black Hills Energy and Westar Energy say they have both received reports of imposters calling customers, claiming to be with either company and threatening to disconnect if payment is not made.

“Individuals claiming ties to the utility may threaten to disconnect service if they are not paid immediately and must provide a pre-paid cash card, personal banking or credit card information,” said Jerry Watkins, general manager of operations for Black Hills Energy in Kansas. “If your account is at risk of service disconnection or you’re due a refund, we will issue advance written notices by mail.”

Black Hills Energy advises customers with concerns call 1-888-890-5554 to verify the legitimacy of requests for payment history and amounts due. Payment options and account access also are available at


Westar says the callers can be very convincing and even manipulate the caller ID to appear as if the call is coming from Westar.

"They may use a prerecorded message. They speak with authority. When the targeted customer calls the phone numbers provided, the

person who answers sounds like they work for Westar. In some cases, callers may even provide information like amount due that makes them sound credible," said Westar in a release.

Gina Penzig, manager, external communications, says Westar will notify customers multiple times before their service is interrupted for non-payment, and "we will never require a pre-paid card for payment.”

Westar says before acting on these calls, you should check your records to see if a recent payment has been made. If you are still unsure, check your account online or call the Westar Energy Customer Relations Center (1-800-383-1183) to check your account status. Learn more about identifying scams at


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