Utilities United Against Scams
Last year, more than 3 million consumers filed fraud complaints in the United States, according to the Federal Trade Commissions – likely just a fraction of the scams being perpetrated throughout the country, costing consumers millions of dollars annually.
While scammers present themselves in a variety of ways, one of their most popular schemes involves posing as companies you communicate with on a regular basis: utilities. As a result, PSEG Long Island is taking action to protect and educate our customers. We’ve partnered with more than 80 electric and gas utilities in North America to form Utilities United Against Scams. The collaborative effort was orchestrated by Duke Energy to bring awareness to residential and commercial customers affected by ongoing payment scams.
Who is at risk?
Scammers don’t discriminate, so all customers are unfortunately at risk. However, these sophisticated thieves tend to target small businesses because their bills are typically larger than residential customers, but don’t have the checks and balances of a big business.
How do I know if I’m being scammed?
Although the type of scam may vary depending on a customer’s geographic location, scams on Long Island and the Rockaways all resemble a similar situation. Customers typically receive unsolicited phone calls from an individual who falsely claims to be one of our representatives, warning that PSEG Long Island will disconnect their electric service if they fail to make a payment via a pre-paid card in full.
These are just a few tell-tale signs to indicate you may be on the phone with a scammer:
- 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.
It’s important to remember that before PSEG Long Island terminates service, we alert our customers in a number of ways: messages on bills, letters and phone calls. We also offer a number of payment options and would never require a customer to use one specific type of payment.
What should I do if I receive this type of call?
If you receive this type of call, do not give out any type of personal or account information. Instead, hang up and call the phone number listed on your bill and our website: 1-800-490-0025. Be sure to also 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.
For more information on scams and how to avoid them, visit www.psegliny.com/scam, like PSEG Long Island on Facebook and follow on Twitter @PSEGLI.