Beware of new utility billing scams
Consumer Alert: Beware of utility billing scams.
This is the message that National Grid has been getting out to customers in recent weeks related to the latest string of utility billing scams.
We’ve been getting some reports from residential and business customers in New England saying that they have been contacted in person and/or by phone by individuals falsely claiming to be from National Grid.
These scammers demand payment, often through a pre-paid card, on past due balances for electric accounts and threaten customers that their service will immediately be shut-off for non-payment. In one instance in mid-January in Whitman, MA, two scammers had actually taken to the streets and were approaching homeowners directly, even going as far as starting to disassemble an electric meter. Meanwhile, in RI, during Winter Storm Jonas, scammers were contacting nursing homes and demanding immediate payment.
What Customers Should Know:
- National Grid does contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options, but never demands direct payment over the telephone.
- Customers can arrange for a payment by check, credit card or debit card if they speak directly to a customer service representative. Payment can also be made by credit card or debit card without a representative’s assistance.
- National Grid employees and contractors have visible photo identification badges with the company logo and wear uniforms with the company name and logo when conducting routine or emergency services for residences and businesses.
- Customers can call National Grid to verify that an employee has been sent to their home.
- Customers also can ask the service person to provide the last five numbers of the account. If the numbers match, the National Grid employee has been verified.
- Customers should always ask to see the identification of anyone attempting to gain entrance to their home — especially if the customer did not initiate a service call. If someone requesting entry into your home or place of business does not show a National Grid ID card, do not let them in.
- Customers who have received calls demanding immediate payment and are told to purchase a pre-paid debit card or provide other sensitive financial information should hang up and contact National Grid immediately. To verify account information and for any billing-related questions, customers should call National Grid at 800-322-3223.
And check out the tweets…
— Dan Jaehnig (@NBC10_Dan) January 26, 2016
The utility scam has resurfaced in our area, and the callers are pretty convincing. We detail red flags tonight at 5 https://t.co/hX1vnozBoR
— Emily Volz (@NBC10_Emily) January 26, 2016