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, the electrical utility company National Grid published a warning about scammers posing as National Grid employees calling people and telling them that their electric bill is overdue and threaten to shut off their service unless they pay immediately using a prepaid debit card. Some calls have even asked for the customer’s Social Security number. This scam is not limited to New York and customers of National Grid but is going on everywhere.
National Grid issued the following statement, “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 thee cards.”
Anytime you receive a call regarding anything in response to which you are advised to make a payment by way of a prepaid debit 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 National Grid 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.
Never make a payment to a utility company in response to a telephone call demanding immediate payments. Also, remember that your Caller ID can be spoofed and therefore you cannot trust it if it indicates the call is from a legitimate company. No utility will require immediate payment by way of a prepaid debit 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.
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