Black Hills Energy customers are being scammed by false reports of mandatory late bill payments.

The company said Thursday that it has received reports from customers saying they were told that if they didn’t immediately pay overdue balances on their accounts, their service would be disconnected.

“Individuals claiming ties to the utility may threaten to disconnect service if they are not paid immediately or may say you’ve overpaid and must provide personal bank account or credit card information for a refund,” said Jerry Watkins, general manager of Kansas operations for Black Hills Energy. “If your account is at risk of service disconnection or you’re due a refund, we will issue advance written notices by mail.”

He added that scammers are becoming more sophisticated with the ability to manipulate caller ID information and leave callback numbers that lead to a recording that mimics the company’s phone options.

Customers have been advised to voice any concerns to customer service associates at (888) 890-5554. By calling that number, customers can verify the legitimacy of requests for payment history, amounts due and whether an employee was dispatched to the customer’s location.

Black Hills also urges customers with concerns about the identity of someone claiming to represent the company to call law enforcement or the 24-hour emergency line at (800) 694-8989 to verify employment.

Customers are advised not to give into callers seeking immediate payment or personal information. Customers should hang up and call the customer service number listed on their utility bill.

Black Hills employees wear shirts with a Black Hills logo, carry a company-issued photo ID and drive vehicles with the company's logo on them.

Customers are also advised not to provide Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or bank account information to anyone during an unsolicited phone call or unannounced visit.