ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – National grid is warned of a potential scam affecting upstate New York on Thursday. They suggest that its customers be vigilant and protect their information. Reports of utility billing and payment scams are putting customers at risk.
National Grid customers report that telephone calls and emails claiming to be from National Grid demand immediate payment for past due balances on their utility bill. Customers contacted in the latest scam claim that the caller provides a name, their office location, and an identification number. In many cases, the caller ID and return number will have National Grid’s name and correct phone number, as scammers have taken additional steps to convince customers they work for National Grid.
The scammers threaten to cancel the customer’s service unless the payment is made immediately. They ask customers for bank and credit information or ask them to purchase a prepaid debit card. They also have been known to call businesses and ask them to make Western Union money transfers.
While the scam stories may vary, their intentions remain the same: frighten customers into making large payments and reveal their sensitive personal information. National Grid reminds its customers that they never demand payment with the threat of immediate disconnection.
National Grid reminds offers the following suggestions:
- Be vigilant. If you believe you are current on your National Grid account, it is highly likely a call seeking payment is a scam.
- Protect yourself. Verify you are speaking with a National Grid representative. Ask the caller to provide the last five digits of your National Grid account number. If the caller doesn’t know your account number and phishes for help, take charge and hang up immediately. National Grid representatives will know your account number.
- Do not take the bait. Scammers will not have access to your account information, social security number or other personal details and you should never offer that information if asked. National Grid representatives will know your account number.
- Scammers also may contact you by email and attempt to lure customers into clicking on a link, visiting a malicious website, revealing account information, or calling a phone number.
- While National Grid may ask for a payment to be made over the phone, the payment method will be left to the customer’s discretion.
- Do not fall for scare tactics and threats. National Grid will not contact customers demanding immediate payment by wire transfer, Green Dot Money-Pak or any other prepaid card service.
- Do not cave to pressure. Never — under any circumstances — offer personal or financial information to someone who you cannot identify.
- Every National Grid employee carries a photo ID badge, and contractors working for the company are also required to carry ID. If someone requesting entry into your home or business does not show identification as a National Grid employee or contractor, don’t let that person in, and call National Grid or local law enforcement.