ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) – The National Network is being warned Thursday of a potential scam affecting upstate New York. They suggest its customers to be vigilant and protect their information. Reports of utility billing and payment scams put customers at risk.
National Grid customers are reporting phone calls and emails claiming to be from National Grid demanding immediate payment of outstanding balances on their utility bill. Customers contacted in the latest scam claim the caller provides a name, office location and ID number. In many cases, the caller ID and return number will contain the correct National Grid name and phone number, as the scammers have taken extra steps to convince customers that they work for National Grid.
The scammers threaten to cancel the customer’s service unless payment is made immediately. They ask customers for bank and credit information or ask them to buy a prepaid debit card. They have also been known to call businesses and ask them to do Western Union money transfers.
Although the scam stories may vary, their intentions remain the same: to scare customers into making large payments and reveal their sensitive personal information. National Grid reminds its customers that they never demand payment under penalty of immediate disconnection.
National Grid recalls offers the following suggestions:
- Be careful. If you think you’re up to date on your National Grid account, chances are a call asking for payment is a scam.
- Protect yourself. Check that you are speaking to a National Grid representative. Ask the caller for the last five digits of your National Grid account number. If the caller doesn’t know your account number and is phishing for help, take matters into your own hands and hang up immediately. National Grid representatives will know your account number.
- Don’t take the bait. Scammers will not have access to your account information, social security number, or other personal information, and you should never provide this information if asked. National Grid representatives will know your account number.
- Scammers can also contact you via email and attempt to trick customers into clicking a link, visiting a malicious website, revealing account information, or calling a phone number.
- Although National Grid may request payment to be made over the telephone, the method of payment will be at the customer’s discretion.
- Don’t fall for scare tactics and threats. The national network do not contact customers requiring immediate payment by bank transfer, Green Dot Money-Pak or any other prepaid card service.
- Don’t give in to the pressure. Never, under any circumstances, offer personal or financial information to anyone you cannot identify.
- Every National Grid employee wears a photo ID badge, and contractors working for the company are also required to wear ID. If someone asking to enter your home or business does not present identification as a National Grid employee or contractor, do not let them enter and call National Grid or local law enforcement.