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Consumer Alert: Scammers posing as utility workers

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Posted at 4:36 PM, Aug 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-26 16:36:10-04

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York State officials are sending out an alert about another round of scams.

Officials have received reports of consumer receiving calls or emails from people claiming to represent an electric, gas or water company. In some cases the caller asks for consumer information, including account numbers, social security numbers, and dates of birth, and demand money for alleged past-due bills.

State officials say there is s growing trend of those scam now popping up in non-English speaking communities.

"Unfortunately, utility scams periodically pop up throughout the year, but scammers are now targeting vulnerable and limited English-speaking communities that may not be aware of these nefarious tactics," said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, who oversees the Division of Consumer Protection. "If you are called or approached by someone purporting to be from a utility company and seeking payment, take steps protect yourself."

Here's some advice from NYS when receiving a call or email from an alleged scammer:

  • Confirm the caller.
  • Don't give the caller information.
  • Utility companies will not shut off utilities via the phone.
  • Utility companies do not ask for payment via gift cards, Green Dot Money-Pak, bitcoin, or wire transfer.
  • Don't let them in before confirming.

You can also call the Consumer Assistance Helpline 1-800-697-1220. The helpline is available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm, excluding State Holidays.