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NEWS STORIES

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

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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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/22/2014

- Oneida and Lincoln are among 19 counties statewide that will ask voters if Wisconsin should accept federal money to expand BadgerCare. We'll look at the question tonight.

- Cooler temperatures helped the state use less water in 2013 than it did in 2012. The state DNR found Wisconsin's groundwater and surface withdrawals dropped by 6 percent from the year before.

- And practical shooting gives people the chance to practice in real-life situations. You can find a number of teams across Wisconsin. We'll take a look at one group in Rhinelander and how the sport helps them practice, and build friendships. That's tonight on Newswatch 12 at Six.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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Water weevils not effective option in fighting EWMSubmitted: 10/22/2014

NORTHWOODS - Earlier this summer, scientists thought they may have found a new way of fighting one Northwoods invasive species.

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State water use declines in 2013Submitted: 10/22/2014

STATEWIDE - Cooler temperatures helped the state use less water in 2013 than it did in 2012.

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Cooler temperatures in 2013 meant power plants didn't need to use as much water to cool down equipment.

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Spending less on HalloweenSubmitted: 10/22/2014

RHINELANDER - The average person will spend $77 this year on Halloween costumes, decorations, and candy.

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President Obama scheduled to campaign for Burke on TuesdaySubmitted: 10/22/2014

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Northwoods Parish raising money for school, church upgradesSubmitted: 10/22/2014

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Nativity of Our Lord Catholic School needs technology and infrastructure upgrades. One of the school's buildings hasn't been updated since the 1950s.

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Northwoods farmers behind on corn harvestSubmitted: 10/22/2014

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Dairy farmer Butch Maly in Antigo wishes his corn season started a few weeks earlier.

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