In 2018, even caller ID can’t be trusted.
At about 11 a.m. Sept. 21, a local business owner received a phone call about his DTE Energy bill. The woman on the line said he needed to pay his bill or the electricity at his business was going to be shut off.
The business owner was then transferred to a man who allegedly worked in the payment center at DTE Energy. The man told him he had to pay his bill via Bitcoin by noon to prevent the power from being turned off.
At this point, the business owner contacted Bitcoin and immediately transferred $500 to the account provided. He later called Bitcoin back to confirm that the payment went through. A representative confirmed that the transaction had been completed, but advised him that it was likely fraudulent. The representative suggested the man file a police report.
That evening, the business owner went to the Southgate Police Department and told officers the phone call came from 1-800-477-4747, which is listed on the “Contact Us” page of DTE Energy’s website. He also said the woman on the phone knew his account information and address.
John Fossen, senior communications specialist at DTE Energy, said the company doesn’t call and threaten to shut people’s power off and doesn’t request payment of a specific type, like Bitcoin.
The man said he attempted to call the phone number back multiple times, but it kept ringing. He also said he had not contacted DTE Energy about his billing.