Scams have been around for decades. How most scams are executed today is far different from how they were ten years ago, let alone a month ago. The downside to the virtual world comes with the growing convenience of technology. Many people across the globe have fallen victim to scammers stealing personal information, identity and even funds from their bank accounts and other outlets electronically. Another hoax, the oldest trick in the book, involves persuading people to make irrational choices based on fear, trust, and vulnerability. A particular scam that has hit close to home involves impersonators pretending to be employees of Northwestern Energy. As reported by the utility company, these imposters have been demanding immediate payments from customers to avoid service disconnects. The threats reported this week had been conducted by phone, text, and other electronic devices. These swindlers have even gone as far as to use Northwestern Energy's phone greeting and company logo on text messages. (NWE scam details and helpline/website below)

Here are the Facts:

*The "legit" NorthWestern Energy Company DOES NOT demand immediate payments. INSTEAD, customers ALWAYS receive disconnection notices by mail before services are considered for shut off. Plus, NWE offers options for payment plans.

*NorthWestern Energy DOES NOT ask for a specific payment type, like prepaid cards or cash payments from a kiosk machine, such as a bitcoin ATM. Plus, they DO NOT use QR codes to process payments.

*DO NOT interact with the scam caller. Hang up on their sorry... you know what, immediately. MOST IMPORTANTLY, educate and pass the word on to family and friends, especially young adults and elderly residents who live alone. Unfortunately, they are the main target of many scams. It's a spineless way for thieves to make money, but by staying ahead of the game, we can all help to stifle their efforts.

In the meantime, NorthWestern Energy has contacted the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on this fraudulent attack on victims. To learn more about how NOT to be a victim of a scam or to report fraud, click here ->SCAM ALERT or call 888-467-2669.

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