BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — National Grid says any calls to customers demanding payments to avoid service disconnection are scams and are not official calls from the electricity provider.
Scammers are targeting customers who are already facing financial difficulties doe to the COVID-19 pandemic and insisting that they make immediate payments or their power will be shut off within 30 minutes, according to a release from National Grid.
National Grid says the scammers are using sophisticated phone systems that mimic their internal phone tree system, making it harder to determine if the call is legit or not.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, National Grid suspended all collections activities, including cutting off service, as of March 13th. Customers are encouraged to pay their bills, if they are able, but say they will not be cutting off anyone's power for lack of payment at this time.
National Grid has a few tips to help customers avoid these scams:
• National Grid representatives will know your account number; never offer that information to a caller.
• Ask the caller to provide the last five digits of your National Grid account number. If the caller doesn’t know your account number, asks questions about your account balance and associated details, or if you have any doubt the caller is a National Grid representative, please take charge and immediately hang up. Call National Grid or local law enforcement officials to report the incident.
• National Grid will not contact customers demanding immediate payment by wire transfer, Green Dot Money-Pak or any other pre-paid card service.
• Never -- under any circumstances -- offer personal or financial information to someone who you cannot identify.
• For more information on scams, visit: nationalgridus.com/Scam-Alert.