Summer of Scams: Learn the Telltale Signs
PSE&G urges customers to think twice if someone threatens to immediately shut off their power
(NEWARK, N.J. – July 27, 2022) Just like the summer itself, scammers are turning up the heat, pretending to be PSE&G or impersonating prominent area utilities, and threatening to turn off service for nonpayment. PSE&G urges customers to understand scammers’ tactics and do the right thing if confronted with a demand for payment: Get the truth from the real PSE&G at 800-436-PSEG (7734).
“Protecting our customers is a top priority. It is critically important we continue to raise awareness and educate customers about how to spot and stop potential scams,” said Jane Bergen, director of billing, Customer Care for PSE&G. “Scammers continue to adapt and develop increasingly sophisticated tactics to take advantage of our customers.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers increased calls, texts, emails and in-person tactics, and they continue to contact utility customers asking for immediate payment to avoid service disconnection. PSE&G would not send just one notification to a customer within an hour of a service disconnection. Also, the company would not require payment with a prepaid debit card, gift card, any form of cryptocurrency or third-party digital payment via fund transfer applications. PSE&G offers a variety of payment options and would never require one specific type of payment.
Signs of potential scam activity:
- Threat to disconnect: Scammers may aggressively tell the customer their utility bill is past due and service will be disconnected if a payment is not made — usually within an hour.
- Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct the customer to purchase a prepaid card, a gift card or even Bitcoin, and then to call them back to make a phone payment. They may request that the customer use a payment app to make an online payment, or even give instructions for an in-person meeting. Many times after the customer makes the first payment, the scammer will call back to ask for the payment to be resubmitted due to an error with the amount. The scammer refers to a new amount and claims that the original payment will be refunded.
- In person-demands: Scammers may arrive at a home or business, flash a fake ID and/or claim to be a utility collection representative. The impostors may wear “uniforms” or affix false company signs to their vehicles. The scammers generally ask for personal information or offer discounts, which a real PSE&G representative would not do.
- Request for card information: If a customer calls back with requested information, the scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s number or gift-card PIN, which grants the scammer instant access to the card’s funds, and the victim’s money is gone.
Protect yourself against scams:
- Be alert to the telltale sign of a scam: someone asking by telephone or email for payment in pre-paid debit cards or fund transfer app, or to send money to an out-of-state address.
- Never arrange payment or provide account or personal information, including Social Security numbers or debit/credit card information, over the telephone unless you are certain you are speaking to a PSE&G representative.
- Customers should also know what PSE&G will and won’t discuss over the phone. A genuine PSE&G representative will ask to speak to the “Customer of Record.” If that person is available, the representative will explain why they are calling and provide the account name, address and current balance. If the person on the phone does not provide the correct information, it is likely the customer is not speaking with a PSE&G representative.
- If the “Customer of Record” is not available, the PSE&G representative will not discuss the account at all and ask that a message be left for the “Customer of Record” to call 1-800-357-2262.
- If customers have doubts about the legitimacy of a call or an email — especially one in which payment is requested — they should call PSE&G directly at 1-800-436-PSEG (7734).
For more information on scams, visit pseg.com/scamalert.