NorthWestern Energy customers in three states, including Montana, have reported fraudulent phone calls, claiming to be from NorthWestern Energy.

The scam

In the press release, NorthWestern says the scam uses both phone calls and fake text messages.  The scammers pretend to be from the utility company and claim a customer's service will be shut off if they don't pay immediately.

The release goes on to say that NorthWestern will send multiple notices before disconnecting service.  They also do not use non-standard payment methods such as pre-paid gift cards, QR codes, or BitCoin.

If you receive these calls, NorthWestern advises you to hang up immediately.  For more information, you can go to or call NorthWestern. For Montana customers, the phone number to call is 888-467-2669.

Tax season scams

It's early days for tax season, and scams involving the IRS are almost guaranteed to  make their annual surge.  Some of the most common, according to the MT Department of Justice, involve the scammer pretending to be from the IRS, claiming the recipient owes the IRS money, and wanting immediate payment.

Protect yourself

Here are a few basic tips on how to avoid being caught by a scammer.

  • If you didn't call them, don't give out your personal information.  A legitimate call will almost never be made unsolicited and they wouldn't ask for your personal information.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • If you get a notice from a lottery or sweepstakes that is contacting you, saying you've won a prize, and you don't remember entering, be wary.  If you didn't enter any such contest, how could you possibly have won?
  • Keep an eye on your bank and credit card statements.
  • Don't just throw away a bill or bank statement.  Shred it.

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