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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

National Grid Warns Upstate New York Customers Of Renewed Payment Scam

Oct. 26, 2016 -- SYRACUSE, N.Y  -   National Grid is once again warning customers to beware of reported utility billing and payment scams that continue to surface across upstate New York. Customers who reported the scams say they were contacted by telephone by individuals who claim to be from National Grid and who advised the customers they have a past due balance on their utility bill.
The scammers warn that service will be shut off immediately unless the customer purchases a prepaid debit card in a specific amount and provides the caller with the card’s account number. This is a huge warning sign.
 
Scam artists have become increasingly sophisticated in replicating National Grid’s recorded messaging and directions for phone prompts, making it more difficult to differentiate an actual National Grid call from an imposter’s call. Similar scams have been reported across the U.S. by other utilities.  
 
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 pre-paid debit card and never accepts payment through these cards.  Customers who believe they have fallen victim to the scam should contact National Grid and local law enforcement officials immediately.
 
National Grid urges customers to know the red flags and offers the following tips: 
  • National Grid representatives will know your account number; never offer that information to a caller.
  • Protect yourself. 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 fishes for help, take charge and hang up immediately.
  • Scammers will not have access to your account information.  If you believe you are current on your National Grid account, it is highly likely a call seeking payment is a scam.
  • National Grid may ask for a payment over the phone, but will leave the method of payment to the customer.
  • Do not cave to pressure. National Grid will not contact customers demanding immediate payment by wire transfer, Green Dot Money-Pak or any other pre-paid card service.
  • Be vigilant.  Never -- under any circumstances -- offer personal or financial information to someone who you cannot identify.
  • Every National Grid employee carries a photo ID card, and any contractor doing work for the company is also required to carry ID. If someone requesting entry into your home or place of business does not show an ID card, don’t let that person in and please call National Grid or your local law enforcement.