Utility Scams On The Rise
PSEG Long Island warns customers to be aware of scammers
(Uniondale, N.Y. — Feb. 21, 2019) — PSEG Long Island urges customers to be alert for increasingly sophisticated scams that continue to target utility customers across the nation. In recent weeks, customers have reported phone scammers pretending to be PSEG Long Island employees, in some cases with caller ID reading “PSEG Long Island.” The scammers demand payment for past-due bills or priority AMI install and threaten to have electric service shut off if payment isn’t remitted immediately. In 2018 more than 4,088 scams were reported to PSEG Long Island, a 75 percent increase over 2017. In total, the utility has received reports of more than 10,000 scams over the past 5 years, with a 6 percent victim rate.
“To better protect customers, it is critically important we continue to raise awareness and educate the public about scams,” said Rick Walden, vice president, customer operations, PSEG Long Island. “If you receive a call from anyone demanding immediate payment, do not give them any personal or account information. Hang up the phone and call PSEG Long Island at 1-800-490-0025.”
With this scam, a call is generated with a phony PSEG Long Island caller ID and someone pretending to be a PSEG Long Island employee says that, without immediate payment via a pre-paid card (e.g. Green Dot Money Pak, Vanilla Reload Card) or bitcoin, their service will be shut off. If the victim takes the bait, the scammer gives them a telephone number to call after they have purchased the card or bitcoin. When customers call that number, they hear interactive voice response prompts that imitate those they would hear when calling the authentic PSEG Long Island customer service line. When the fake representative answers, they ask for the number on the back of the pre-paid card. After the scammers have that number, they take the money from the card – usually within minutes. If a bitcoin payment is demanded, the scammers will ask customers to deposit at a certain location.
PSEG Long Island would never require customers to use one specific payment type. The utility offers a variety of payment options, but it does not accept pre-paid debit cards or bitcoin. PSEG Long Island customers scheduled for disconnection due to nonpayment receive written notice on their bill at least 10 days in advance.
If you get a call
Know what PSEG Long Island will and won’t discuss. A genuine PSEG Long Island representative will ask to speak to the Customer of Record. If that person is available, the representative will explain why they are calling and share the account name, address and current balance. If you do not receive this correct information from the person on the phone, you are likely not speaking with a PSEG Long Island representative.
If the Customer of Record is not available, the PSEG Long Island representative will not discuss the account at all and ask that a message be left for the Customer of Record to call PSEG Long Island at 1-800-490-0025.
Phone scammers aren’t the only ones trying to trick customers out of their money. PSEG Long Island also cautions customers to beware of emails that appear to be bills from the utility. These emails request personal information, leading to identity theft.
PSEG Long Island does not ask customers to provide personal information online without first logging into My Account. Do not provide any personal information requested by email. Do not download any attachments, and do not click on any links in the email. Open a browser window and visit www.psegliny.com to log into My Account to get accurate account information.
Recently, PSEG Long Island has received reports of door-to-door solicitors from solar companies and energy service companies impersonating PSEG Long Island employees or approved vendors. Reports have also been received of subjects impersonating PSEG Long Island employees to gain entry to homes and steal items.
PSEG Long Island employees should be wearing a PSEG Long Island ID badge and PSEG Long Island-branded clothing. If you doubt the identity of a visitor claiming to be from the utility, do not give them access to your home. Call 1-800-490-0025 to determine if PSEG Long Island employees are in the area. If you are unable to verify that PSEG Long Island employees are present, call 911.
Any customer who has doubts about the legitimacy of a call or an email — especially one in which payment is requested — should call the utility directly at 1-800-490-0025 or visit a local PSEG Long Island Customer Service Center. Service Centers are open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with locations listed on customer bills and online at: https://www.psegliny.com/myaccount/customersupport/customerservicelocations.
For more information on various payment scams in the PSEG Long Island service area and around the country, visit www.psegliny.com/scam.
PSEG Long Island operates the Long Island Power Authority’s transmission and distribution system under a long-term contract. PSEG Long Island is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PSEG) (NYSE:PEG), a publicly traded diversified energy company.