A new phone scam has hit many customers of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) in recent days, warns the utility company.
Targeted customers would receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from LIPA requesting payment on past-due balances.
The customer would be threatened that service will be shut off if payment is not made. The caller would request for the customer to purchase a Green Dot Money Pak or pre-paid card to make the payment since LIPA currently does not accept credit or debit card payments.
Some other customers have also received phone scams where they are informed that they may have a faulty meter that is dangerous and in need of replacing for a substantial fee.
LIPA has issued a warning that customers should not give out any confidential information. While LIPA does contact customers with past due payment over the phone, direct payment is never requested over the telephone. In addition, electric meters are the property of LIPA. It is not a customer-owned equipment.
LIPA customers who believe they have been a target of such phone scams and who have billing questions may contact the LIPA Customer Contact Center at (800) 490-0025 or (631) 755-6000.
Additional precautions customers can take to avoid identity theft and fraud include not providing Social Security, credit card, or bank account information over the telephone unless there is confidence and certainty of whom the individual on the other end is. For absolute certainty, hang up and dial the customer service number on the utility bill directly.
Scams can also occur physically. Don’t allow anyone into your home unless it is a scheduled appointment or you have reported the problem to the utility company and the individual can provide proper identification.
Many customers may feel pressure to comply with immediate requests for fear of service shutdown during the cold weather, but it is important to always think safety first, according to tips from the Better Business Bureau.