As the nation recognizes National Consumer Protection Week, PSEG Long Island warns customers to learn how to spot the signs of fraud and scams and report them.
“PSEG Long Island is working closely with law enforcement to gather information from customers that have been contacted or fell victim to scammers,” said Rick Walden, vice president of customer services, PSEG Long Island. “The more information customers can offer—what the scammer asked, phone numbers, etc., helps authorities track the criminals and potentially shut down their operation.”
Criminals are creative and persistent: As one scam is revealed, another is in the works. Customers need to stay aware to avoid falling victim.
Scammers claiming to be from PSEG Long Island will often call or e-mail a customer with a warning that service is going to be shut off due to unpaid bills—unless the customer purchases a prepaid card or arranges for a transfer via MoneyGram. There have even been reports that some of these scammers can spoof caller ID systems to display “PSEG Long Island.” PSEG Long Island does not accept payments of electric bills via prepaid debit cards, or by MoneyGram or similar transfers.
What Scammers Want You To Do
Prepaid debit cards. The scammer suggests a specific store near the customer’s home to purchase prepaid cards. The scammer instructs the customer to pay cash to put money on the card and to then to provide the number on the card. Once the customer provides the scammer with the card number, the scammer steals the money.
MoneyGram. Scammers may ask a customer to provide money from a bank account, credit card, or debit card by going online or to a specified location. The money goes into a fraudulent bank account or is available for the receiver to pick up in cash.
What You Should Do
Be alert to the telltale sign of a scam: someone asking by telephone or e-mail for payment in prepaid debit cards or a MoneyGram transfer, or to send money to an out-of-state address.
Never arrange payment or divulge account or personal information, including social security numbers or debit or credit card information, over the telephone unless you are certain you are speaking to a PSEG Long Island representative.
If a customer has doubts about the legitimacy of a call or an e-mail—especially one in which payment is requested—call the utility directly at 1-800-490-0025 or visit a local PSEG Long Island Customer Service Center. Service centers are open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with locations listed on customer bills and online at: PSEGLINY.com/page.cfm/Account/Payment/CustomerServiceCenter.
PSEG Long Island is a member of the Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) collaborative. Members of Utilities United Against Scams work across the utility industry and with regulators, law enforcement, and other telecommunications partners to help stop scams targeting utility customers.
UUAS members directly report toll-free numbers (TFNs) being used by scammers to target their customers. Since March 2017, UUAS members have been instrumental in shutting down more than 500 scammer-used TFNs.
For more information on various payment scams reported in the PSEG Long Island service area and around the country, visit PSEGLINY.com/scam. Visit UtilitiesUnited.org for more information and tips about how customers can protect themselves from scams or follow along on social media: Twitter@U_U_A_S and Facebook @UtilitiesUnited.