NIPSCO customers are being warned about a telephone scam where callers attempt to get money by claiming meters need replacing.
In Michigan City, police said three small businesses this month reported being told on the telephone by someone claiming to be from NIPSCO that their meters needed replacing and they had to pay the cost of replacement or their electricity would be shut off.
The targets of the scam are also instructed to purchase a "Green Dot MoneyPak" credit card as their only option for paying then call back with a receipt for the card and pin number so the money can be instantly withdrawn from those cards from anywhere in the world.
Michigan City police Sgt. Chris Yagelski said each of the businesses receiving the calls have been told to put at least $500 on those cards.
Fortunately, all three of the targets became suspicious and didn't fall for the scam, he said.
Yagelski said the callers are hoping to stir panic in the people targeted hoping they'll follow the instructions out of fear of having no heat during this bitter cold or being forced to temporarily close their doors, especially if the weekend is approaching.
NIPSCO communications manager Kathleen Szot said customers should know that NIPSCO does not accept Green Dot MoneyPak cards as payment.
She said no other reports of the meter scam have surfaced anywhere else in the NIPSCO service territory.