PSEG Long Island Continues to Raise Awareness of Utility Scams During National Consumer Protection Week
(UNIONDALE, N.Y. – March 4, 2020) – PSEG Long Island this week joins Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) to recognize National Consumer Protection Week and to educate customers on how they avoid falling victim to imposter utility scams.
“PSEG Long Island is dedicated to the safety and security of our customers, during National Consumer Protection Week and all year long,” said Rick Walden, PSEG Long Island’s vice president of Customer Services. “We work closely with local law enforcement to keep them informed about scammers’ latest tactics, and we share this information with customers via social media, press releases, and community presentations. We are also proud to be a member of Utilities United Against Scams, sharing our insights about scammers so that larger trends can be tracked and innocent people can be warned.”
As a member of UUAS—a consortium of 146 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations—PSEG Long Island works across the industry with regulators, law enforcement, and telecommunications partners to stop scams targeting utility customers.
UUAS and its member companies continue to create awareness of common and new scam tactics and, to date, have helped to cease operations of more than 6,000 toll-free numbers used against utility customers by scammers.
"Scammers can rob customers of their hard-earned money and, in a worst-case scenario, leave them struggling to make ends meet for their household or small business,” said UUAS Executive Director Monica Martinez. “UUAS helps utility companies educate their customers so they don't fall victim to fraud and scams. We work to shut down fraudulent toll-free numbers, highlight common scam tactics, and provide resources to customers to help them better protect themselves from scammers who steal their money and their peace of mind."
Signs of Potential Scam Activity:
- Threat to disconnect: Scammers may aggressively tell a customer that his or her utility bill is past due and that service will be disconnected if a payment is not made. Typically, the scammer will tell the customer that a disconnection will come within an hour.
- Request for immediate payment via prepaid card: Scammers may instruct a customer to purchase a prepaid card and call a number to make an immediate bill payment to his or her utility company. Once the funds are received from a prepaid card, there is no way to refund or reverse the transaction.
- Fraudulent electronic communications: Scammers may disguise themselves as the utility by sending spam emails with logos, trademarks, website links, and wording to lure the customer into making a false payment or providing personal information.
How Customers Can Protect Themselves:
- Customers should never purchase a prepaid card to avoid service disconnection or shutoff. PSEG Long Island does not accept prepaid cards as payment, and utility companies always offer a variety of ways to pay a bill, including online, phone, automatic bank draft, mail, or in-person payments.
- If someone threatens immediate disconnection or shutoff of service, customers should hang up the phone, delete the email, or shut the door. Customers with delinquent accounts receive an advance disconnection notification, typically by mail and included with their regular monthly bill. Companies never send a single notification within one hour of service disconnection.
- If customers suspect a scammer, they should double check by calling their utility company at the number on their monthly bill or the company’s website, not the phone number the scammer provides. If customers ever feel that they are in physical danger, they should call 9-1-1.
Customers who suspect that they have been victims of fraud or who feel threatened during contact with a scammer should contact their local utility company or law enforcement authorities. The Federal Trade Commission’s website also provides additional information about protecting personal information and other information regarding impostor scams.
Visit www.psegliny.com/scam for more information about how PSEG Long Island’s customers can protect themselves against the most common scams in the area.
Visit www.utilitiesunited.org for more information and tips on how customers can protect themselves from impostor utility scams, and follow along with UUAS on Twitter and Facebook.
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.