Uniondale, NY - November 14, 2016 - PSEG Long Island has joined more than 80 electric and gas utility companies across the United States and Canada to work together to protect customers from the long-running payment scam targeting customers of utility service providers.
The Utilities United Against Scams collaborative was organized to encourage customers to be aware of the ongoing payment scams affecting residential and commercial utility customers across the country. These scams demand immediate payment via a pre-paid card and threaten termination of service if payment is not received.
“Scammers target utility customers across North America every day and attempt to deceive payments and money by impersonating utility employees,” said Dan Eichhorn, vice president, customer services, PSEG Long Island. “PSEG Long Island is proud to work with fellow utilities, today and every day, to bring awareness of scams to as many customers as possible. The fact that just one customer could be impacted by a scam is one too many."
Under this scam on Long Island, a customer receives an unsolicited phone call from an individual who falsely claims to be a PSEG Long Island representative. The scammer warns that PSEG Long Island will disconnect the customer’s electric service if they fail to make a payment – usually within a short timeframe.
Red flags for scam activity
- The thief becomes angry and tells the customer his or her account is past due and service will be disconnected if a large payment isn’t made.
- The thief instructs the customer to purchase a pre-paid debit or credit card – widely available at retail stores – then call him or her back to supposedly make a payment to PSEG Long Island.
- The scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number, which grants instant access to the card’s funds.
The only way to protect against these scams is for customers to be cautious when contacted by someone threatening service termination if they do not receive immediate payment via a pre-paid credit card. Before terminating service, PSEG Long Island alerts customers in a number of ways: messages on bills, letters and phone calls. The utility offers a number of payment options, and would never require a customer to use one specific type of payment.
“If you receive a call from anyone demanding immediate payment, do not give them any personal or account information,” said Dan Eichhorn, vice president, customer services, PSEG Long Island. “Hang up the phone, and call the number listed on PSEG Long Island’s website and bills: 1-800-490-0025 and report scamming activity to your local police department.”
PSEG Long Island is working with local and national law enforcement to investigate reported scams and is also reaching out to its contacts at local community service agencies asking them to spread the word to their clients.