AG Nessel Issues Letter Asking for an Investigation into DTE Energy’s eBill Program and AG Nessel Warns Residents about USPS Scam

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AG Nessel Issues Letter Asking for an Investigation into DTE Energy’s eBill Program

 Today, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel asked the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) Chair to investigate DTE Energy’s eBill program as well as any other utilities’ similar programs across the state.

The eBill program automatically enrolls a customer in DTE’s paperless billing program without any affirmative consent by the customer. 

This could potentially pose hardships to customers who are unaware and not monitoring email accounts for bills they are accustomed to receiving in the mail.  This could lead to an accumulation of late bills and fees.

“For many people who are struggling to make ends meet, adding additional costs based on a change that was made without their knowledge and consent is completely unfair and must stop,” said Nessel. “I hope that the Michigan Public Service Commission will open an investigation into this practice to ensure that ratepayers are not facing additional burdens and that they require the company to provide refunds to the customers who were negatively impacted by this practice.” 

As noted in the letter, it appears that customers who have shared their emails with DTE for other reasons may receive an email notifying them that they have been selected for an eBill trial. Unfortunately, DTE automatically enrolls the customer into the eBill program if they don’t affirmatively opt-out of the program. The opt-out language is at the bottom of the unsolicited e-mail, and thus likely not to be read by the customer. 

Paperless billing without consent may cause a problem for customers who had previously opted-in to paper billing and are unaware that the utility made this change.  As a result, the customer is at risk of delinquency and may be subject to late fees and shut-off notices.  

“This practice is especially troubling as we head into the colder months,” Nessel added. “It's essential that residents, especially seniors who are more likely to fall victim to this type of trickery, have reliable heat in their homes throughout the winter.” 

The letter to the MPSC can be found here. > > >


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AG Nessel Warns Residents about USPS Scam

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AG Nessel Warns Residents about USPS Scam

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning residents about fraudulent smishing text messages with an alleged delivery notification and tracking link, purporting to be from the United States Postal Service (USPS). 

“It is critically important for people to recognize a scam like this and avoid giving out their personal information,” said Nessel. “Clicking on fraudulent links can lead to identity theft, the installation of malware on your device, and could lead to your contact information being sold to other bad actors who are also looking to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.” 

Smishing is when the scammer entices the victim by claiming a victim must provide them with a password, account number, or even social security number to stop an alleged fraudulent transaction. Once this information is provided, the scammer can gain access to the device and any personal information stored on it, including email, bank, credit card, or other types of accounts including social media.  

In response, Nessel wants to remind residents of ways to protect your number and information:   

  • Don't share your phone number unless you know the person or organization well.   
  • Don't assume a text is legitimate because it comes from a familiar phone number or area code.  Spammers use caller ID Spoofing to make it appear the text is from a trusted or local source.    
  • Don't provide personal or financial information in response to the unsolicited text or at a website linked to the message.  
  • Don't click on links in a suspicious text; they could install malware on your device or take you to a site that does the same. 
  • Don't reply, even if the message says you can "text STOP" to avoid more messages.  That tells the scammer or spammer your number is active and can be sold to other bad actors.  
  • Never follow a text's instructions to push a designated key to opt out of future messages.  

This smishing scam is common and may look like the below photo. In addition to the sender’s email coming from a public domain instead of the organization's, the suggested link does not match the public facing website for the USPS. 

A library of consumer alerts created by the Department of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team is available online and organized by a number of categories.     

Or to file a complaint with the Department of Attorney General, contact: 

Consumer Protection Team 
P.O. Box 30213 
Lansing, MI 48909 
Fax: 517-241-3771 
Toll free: 877-765-8388 
Online complaint form