This particular scam is one about which I have warned you many times over the years, but it deserves another warning because it is still occurring throughout the country. Recently, Eversource, the electric and natural gas supplier to millions of customers in the New England has issued a warning about scammers calling customers over the phone pretending to be an Eversource representative and threatening to turn off the power unless an immediate payment is made by Green Dot MoneyPak card or other prepaid debit cards or wired money. Anytime you receive a call regarding anything in response to which you are advised to make a payment by way of a prepaid card or by wired funds you should be skeptical because these prepaid cards are a favorite method for scam artists to scam you out of your money. This is because once the scammer has the card number, it is the same as cash and you cannot stop payment on the payment nor trace to whom the payment was made. As for wired funds, they too are impossible to get back once the money is wired to the scammer. The scammers making these calls can be quite intimidating and threatening. Often your Caller ID may even indicate that the call is indeed from Eversource or your particular utility company, but it is an easy thing for a scammer to “spoof” or make it appear that a call from them is coming from your utility company. Consequently, you can never be sure when you receive a telephone call as to who is really calling you. This scam is not limited to New England, but is going on everywhere.
Never make a payment to a utility company in response to a telephone call. No utility will require immediate payment by way of a Green Dot MoneyPak card or wired funds. If you are behind in your utility payments, call the utility company at a number that you know is accurate and discuss a payment plan with a legitimate representative of the utility company.