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BBB Awareness

Utility Scam
Posted at 11:36 AM, Oct 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-17 11:36:26-04

Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York is warning people that a utility scam is popping up in parts of our area. National Grid says scammers are targeting its customers, demanding payment over the phone and telling people that they will shut off service if they do not comply.

Because utility companies do sometimes contact their customers by phone, it can be difficult to tell a scammer from a real employee. BBB offers the following tips:
• Prepaid debit cards are a red flag. If a caller specifically asks you to pay by prepaid debit card or wire transfer, this is a huge warning sign. Your utility company will accept a check or credit card and will usually direct you to one of their payment locations.

• Protect yourself. Never give your credit card, debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking or savings account numbers to anyone who comes to your home, calls or sends an email requesting information.

• Do not cave to pressure to pay immediately. If you feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your bill. This will ensure you are speaking to a real representative.

• Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or reported a problem. Also, do not get lured outside to view broken meters or point out property lines. Always ask utility employees for proper identification.

www.bbb.org