Fraudulent caller posing as DTE gets $1,500 out of Pittsfield Township business
One Pittsfield Township business was reportedly swindled out of $1,500 by a fraudulent caller posing as a DTE Energy representative and police say it's connected to three similar incidents.
As of July 17, Pittsfield Township police have responded to two reports stating that a fraudulent caller told the businesses that their utility bill had not been paid and immediate payment by credit card was required to maintain service.
The suspect called a business in the 4900 block of Washtenaw Avenue on July 15 and identified as a representative of DTE Energy, according to police.
The caller told an employee of the business that they owed $500 and if immediate payment was not made, their electricity would be shut off.
Police said the employee was skeptical of the caller and after receiving a second call, he decided to hang up. The employee was able to get some information that detectives are currently working with to identify a suspect.
Police determined there was a connection between the fraudulent call to the business on Washtenaw Avenue and another call reported by a business in the 2200 block of Hogback Road that came in around the same time.
The second victim reported a similar situation and fell prey to the scam totaling $1,500.
In both incidents the call came in from the same telephone number.
Investigation of the number by detectives indicates that two additional incidents, one reported in West Bloomfield on July 3 and one reported in Ann Arbor on July 11, are related.
Police are asking businesses and residents to report any suspicious telephone calls made by people stating they work for a utility company when no prior arrangements for contact has been made with the company.
In a report released by Pittsfield Township police, DTE recommends that customers ask for identification, ask the caller to state the account number and check caller ID if available. The call will come up as DTE Energy if it is legitimate.
A suspect has not been identified. The Pittsfield Township police department is continuing to investigate.
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Chelsea Hoedl is an intern reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.