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NEWS STORIES

Utility bills scam hitting customers who might be behind on paymentsSubmitted: 04/16/2013
Story By Lane Kimble


RHINELANDER - A seemingly endless winter made for a tough year on utility bills. Some people are behind on payments and that could mean your provider shuts off services starting this week.

The latest scam is taking advantage of customers who find themselves stuck in that position.

Wisconsin Public Service customers say someone will call claiming to be from the company. They'll request money for unpaid accounts, claiming services will be shut down if you don't pay.

The scammer will suggest you buy a prepaid debit card or arrange for a cash pickup. WPS Community Relations Leader Leah Van Zile says those should be warning signs.

"They would not be offended at all if somebody says, 'You know, I'm not sure about this, I'm going to call back in,'" Van Zile said. "It's just a part of safety nowadays in the world that we operate."

What about if you actually are behind on your bill? Van Zile says there are still options to keep your lights and heat going.

All it takes is a phone call or a click.

"There may still be some dollars available for energy assistance, so if some of those folks haven't taken advantage of that program and they are income eligible, we really encourage them to contact the social services office for their county and see if there's some crisis dollars available," Van Zile said.

If you do think a scammer has called you, make sure to write down as much information about the caller as possible.

That includes the date and time, phone number and any description of the caller you can gather.

We have a link to the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program below.

Related Weblinks:
Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Teen building sugar shack to help school's science department, become Eagle ScoutSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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THREE LAKES - A Northwoods teen will build a sugar shack for his high school's science department. Will Starke put up the framework for the shack Saturday.

Starke is a boy scout with troop 601 of Eagle River. He wants to build the shack for his Eagle Project.

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Pet Expo brings in dogs and ownersSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Plenty of dogs and their owners took over a well known place in Eagle River Saturday.

More than 25 vendors filled the Eagle River Derby Track.

This is the first time WRJO of Eagle River held the Pet Expo. They wanted people to get good information about grooming, veterinarian services, dog treats and other aspects they might not have known about.

"The veterinarians and some of them are doing essentials oils that are good for their skin. There's dog nutrition," said WRJO Account Executive, Trish Keeley. "There's when they need to get shots; when they should be worried about ticks, flees and spay and neuter. All that type of information."

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Suspect sought in 2 stabbings near UW-OshkoshSubmitted: 10/25/2014

OSHKOSH - Police are seeking a suspect in the stabbings of two students near the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Authorities say the stabbings happened around 11 p.m. Friday in a neighborhood east of campus. A police statement says the suspect confronted the first victim and took his cellphone, then stabbed him in the ensuing struggle.

Police say the second victim chased the suspect, another struggle ensued, and he was also stabbed.

A university statement says both students were seriously injured but are recuperating at an area hospital.

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Early Halloween celebrationsSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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RHINELANDER - Halloween won't be here until next week but the celebration has already begun in the Northwoods.

Hundreds of kids took over the streets of Rhinelander Saturday. They all had one goal in mind...candy!

For many of the kids, this was the second time they've gone trick or treating. Hundreds of people got candy at the YMCA's Not So Scary Halloween Trail.

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Movie makers use Newswatch 12 studioSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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RHINELANDER - You can expect to see Newswatch 12's studio on the big screen in the future. Movie makers from Madison used our set for a scene in their low budget indi film.

Barking Shadow Productions company has been shooting a movie called Tesla Factor in Rhinelander. It's based on corporate and political dirty deeds.

We don't want to give too much away, but our set was used for a broadcast informing viewers about a company doing illegal things.

The company hopes to have the movie featured on Netflix.

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Second year of pumpkin display in RhinelanderSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander continued a Halloween tradition a week before the special day.

You could see pumpkins lined up in front of Trigs Saturday night. This is the second year Downtown Rhinelander Inc. held the pumpkin sighting.

They didn't have as many pumpkins as they did last year, but people still had the chance to judge which pumpkin had the best carving.

"We just wanted something that would be pizazz when people drove by or walked around. They would see all these lit pumpkins," said Downtown Rhinelander Inc. member/Sandy Bus, Joan Belongia.

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Wisconsin sex offenders must stay home HalloweenSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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MADISON - Police are teaming up with parole agents across Wisconsin to make sure sex offenders stay home on Halloween night.

All of Wisconsin's 5,000 registered sex offenders under active community supervision are subject to special restrictions on Halloween.

Grace Roberts, who heads the Department of Corrections sex offender program, says they began actively enforcing the rules under the Halloween Knock and Talk program about eight years ago.

Offenders are barred from putting up Halloween decorations that might attract children to knock on their doors.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke says his officers will be out both this weekend and next reminding registrants they're being watched.

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