PSEG Long Island will join Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) to recognize the fourth annual Utility Scam Awareness Day on Wednesday.
Utility Scam Awareness Day is part of the week-long National Scam Awareness Week, an advocacy and awareness campaign focused on educating customers and exposing the tactics used by scammers. This year’s theme is ‘It Happened to Me, Don’t Let it Happen to You.’
“The persistence and sophistication of scammers is disconcerting,” said Rick Walden, vice president of Customer Services, PSEG Long Island. “More than 5,000 scam calls have been reported to PSEG Long Island this year. We are pleased to participate in the UUAS awareness campaign to educate and help decrease the number of customers that fall victim to the scammers.”
Signs of potential scam activity:
- Threat to disconnect: Scammers may aggressively tell the customer their utility bill is past due and service will be disconnected if a payment is not made – usually within an hour.
- Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct the customer to use cash or purchase a prepaid card, a gift card or even Bitcoin, and then to call them back — supposedly to make a phone payment to the utility company, or to receive instructions for an in-person meeting, supposedly at a utility customer center. Many times after the customer makes the first payment, the scammer will call back to ask for the payment to be resubmitted due to an error with the amount.
- In-person demands: Scammers may arrive at a home or business, flash a fake ID and/or claim to be a utility collection representative. The impostors may wear “uniforms” or affix false company signs to their vehicles. The scammers generally ask for personal information, which real utility representatives do not do, or offer bogus discounts.
- Request for card information: If a customer calls back with requested information, the caller asks the customer for the prepaid card’s number or gift-card PIN, which grants the scammer instant access to the card’s funds, and the victim’s money is gone.
- Priority Meter Installs: Recent phone scams reported to PSEG Long Island include demands for payment for past-due bills or priority meter installations. Often scammers will threaten to disconnect electric service if payment is not made immediately. These scammers often demand payment through a pre-paid card (e.g. Green Dot Money Pak, Vanilla Reload Card) or bitcoin.
Protect yourself against scams:
Be alert to the telltale sign of a scam: someone asking by telephone or email for payment in pre-paid debit cards or a MoneyGram transfer, or to send money to an out-of-state address.
Never arrange payment or divulge account or personal information, including Social Security numbers or debit or credit card information, over the telephone unless you are certain you are speaking to a PSEG Long Island representative.
For more information on various payment scams reported in the PSEG Long Island service area and around the country, visit https://www.psegliny.com/myaccount/customersupport/scamsandfraud.