On Utility Scam Awareness Day, PSE&G Urges Customers to Know How to Spot and Stop Utility Scammers
If someone calls and threatens to immediately shut off the power, it’s likely fraudulent
(NEWARK, NJ — Nov. 14, 2023) Autumn’s cool temperatures and wet weather are in full effect, but scammers are still putting the heat on homes and businesses in New Jersey, impersonating PSE&G and area utilities and demanding immediate payment. On Utility Scam Awareness Day, Nov. 15, PSE&G urges customers to be aware of scammers' tactics and know what to do if confronted with a demand for payment and a threat of imminent shutoff: Get the truth from the real PSE&G at 1-800-436-7734.
"Scammers try to blindside you with an urgent problem in the hopes that you panic and miss all the clues that they’re not who they appear to be,” said Dave Johnson, vice president PSE&G Customer Care & Chief Customer Officer. “PSE&G wants customers to remember one simple thing: If someone calls threatening to shut off your power and demands immediate payment, hang up and call the number that’s printed on your bill to verify before acting.”
Recent phone scams reported to PSE&G include demands for payment for past-due bills or priority meter installations. Often scammers will threaten to disconnect electric service if payment is not made immediately. Many scammers ask 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. 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. Scammers 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.
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 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 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 the representative will provide the account name, address and current balance. If the person on the phone does not provide the correct information, it is likely not 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 1-800-436-PSEG (7734).
- If a customer has doubts about the legitimacy of a call or an email — especially one in which payment is requested — hang up and call the company directly at 1-800-436-PSEG (7734).
PSE&G launches additional security measures
In November, PSE&G is introducing a multi-factor authentication (MFA) process when you log in to your PSE&G My Account. MFA is an additional security measure that many banks, airlines and other businesses use to prevent unauthorized access to your account(s). Please review your My Profile to ensure your email address is up to date. Learn more about MFA.
Here is a preview of the process:
- The first time you log into your online account, you will be prompted to reset your current password to meet new password requirements.
- Then, you’ll receive an email (to the email address currently on file) providing a one-time authentication code for validation. (Note: If you want to change your email address on file, you can do so in the My Profile section of My Account)
- Lastly, you’ll be required to enter a phone number where you will receive an authentication code.
Please contact PSE&G internet support group in English or Spanish at 1-888-234-9209 if you have trouble accessing your account.
PSE&G is a member of the Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) collaborative. UUAS, a consortium of more than 150 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations, continues to raise customer awareness of common scams and new scam tactics used by utility impostors. Through its work and with the help of customer reporting, UUAS has successfully helped to take more than 14,020 toll-free numbers used by scammers against utility customers out of operation.
For more information on payment scams, visit pseg.com/ScamAlert.
Public Service Electric & Gas Co. is New Jersey’s oldest and largest gas and electric delivery public utility, as well as one of the nation’s largest utilities. PSE&G is the 2022 Edison Award recipient from the Edison Electric Institute. PSE&G has won the ReliabilityOne® Award for superior electric system reliability in the Mid-Atlantic region for 22 consecutive years. For the second consecutive year, PSE&G is the recipient of the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award in the Energy Efficiency Program Delivery category. In addition, in 2022 J.D. Power named PSE&G number one in customer satisfaction for both Residential Electric and Natural Gas Service in the East among Large Utilities. PSE&G is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., (PSEG) (NYSE:PEG), a predominantly regulated infrastructure company focused on a clean energy future and has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America for 15 consecutive years (www.pseg.com).