PSEG-LI is warning that more consumers are falling for increasingly sophisticated scams.
The most common scam, phone scamming, has become more frequent and more sophisticated. Customers have reported phone calls that seem legitimate because the caller ID reads “PSEG Long Island.”
The utility said residents and business owners need to be wary of scammers and offers the following information to help customers be aware and protect themselves.
Nearly 4,000 scam calls have been reported to PSEG Long Island so far this year, compared with 4,088 scam calls reported in all of 2018.
While recent weeks have seen an increase in the number of people tricked by these calls, PSEG Long Island said its awareness campaigns seem to be working. In 2015, in 8.2% of the total number of reported calls, customers became victims. Since 2018, that number is down to 5%.
Recent scams reported to the utility 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. If the victim takes the bait, the scammer provides a telephone number where a fake representative requests additional information that completes the fraudulent transaction.
“Signs that a call may not be legitimate include a request for a specific payment type or a sense of urgency on the part of the caller,” said Rick Walden, vice president, customer operations, PSEG Long Island. “Our representatives will never demand payment and, though we offer a variety of payment options, they do not include pre-paid debit cards or bitcoin. Additionally, if a customer is scheduled for disconnection due to nonpayment, they will receive written notice on their bill at least 10 days in advance.”
If customers receive a call from anyone demanding immediate payment, do not provide any personal or account information. Hang up and call PSEG Long Island at 1-800-490-0025.
Customers should also know what PSEG Long Island will and won’t discuss over the phone. A genuine PSEG Long Island representative will ask to speak to the customer of record. If that person is available, the representative will explain why they are calling and provide the account name, address and current balance. If the person on the phone does not provide the correct information, it is likely the customer is not speaking with a PSEG Long Island representative.
If the customer of record is not available, the PSEG Long Island representative will not discuss the account at all and ask that a message be left for the Customer of Record to call 1-800-490-0025.
Besides phone scammers, PSEG Long Island also cautions customers to beware of emails that appear to be bills from the utility. These emails request personal information that could lead to identity theft.
PSEG Long Island does not ask customers to provide personal information online without first logging into the “My Account” section of www.psegliny.com/. Never provide any personal information requested by email. Do not download any attachments, and do not click on any links in the email. Instead, open a browser window, visit www.psegliny.com and log into “My Account” to get accurate account information, or call PSEG Long Island customer service.
Scammers may also come to a home. PSEG Long Island has received reports of door-to-door solicitors from solar companies and energy service companies impersonating PSEG Long Island employees or approved vendors. Reports have also been received of subjects impersonating PSEG Long Island employees to gain entry to homes and steal items.
PSEG Long Island employees will always wear a PSEG Long Island ID badge and PSEG Long Island-branded clothing. If the identity of a visitor claiming to be from the company is suspicious, do not give access. Call 1-800-490-0025 to determine if PSEG Long Island employees are in the area. If a customer is unable to verify that PSEG Long Island employees are present, they should not allow the person entry and call 911.
Any customer who has doubts about the legitimacy of a call or email — especially one in which payment is requested — should call the PSEG Long Island directly at 1-800-490-0025 or visit a PSEG Long Island Customer Service Center. Service Centers are open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with locations listed on customer bills and online at: https://www.psegliny.com/myaccount/customersupport/customerservicelocations.
For more information on various payment scams in the PSEG Long Island service area and around the country, visit www.psegliny.com/scam.