ALBANY — National Grid customers and local law enforcement are reporting utility billing and payment scams across upstate New York. National Grid is asking its customers to beware and know the signs of a scam.
Imposters claiming to be National Grid employees may tell customers that they have past due balances on their utility bills, even promising a savings on their next bill. Customers who reported the scams, say they were contacted by telephone and email, and in some cases automated recordings.
The scammers threaten that service will be shut off immediately unless the customer purchases a prepaid debit card in a specific amount, such as a Green Dot card, and provides the caller with the card’s account number, or in the case of business customers, by way of a Western Union money transfer. These calls are not officially from National Grid and instead are used by scammers to obtain account information.
The scenario can change, but the goal of the scammer remains the same: scare customers into making hasty decisions that often include large payments.
National Grid does contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options, but never demands direct payment through the use of a prepaid debit card and never accepts payment through these cards.
Scammers have become increasingly sophisticated in replicating National Grid’s recorded messaging and directions for phone prompts, even spoofing the phone number on caller ID making it more difficult to differentiate an actual National Grid call from an imposter’s call. Similar scams have been reported across the U.S. by other utilities.
Customers who believe they have fallen victim to the scam should contact National Grid and local law enforcement officials immediately.
To learn more about protecting you and your loved ones from scams, visit ngrid.com/scam.