PSE&G Encourages Customers to #StopScams
Participates in Utility Scam Awareness Day with Utilities United Against Scams
(NEWARK, N.J. – November 13, 2018) Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), New Jersey’s largest utility, is encouraging its customers to be on guard against scammers who use sophisticated methods to trick people into paying money they do not owe. Raising awareness against scams and about the PSE&G payment process is part of a wider effort to stop scams, organized by the award-winning Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) of which PSE&G is a member.
Wednesday, November 14, marks Utility Scam Awareness Day, which this year focuses on:
in-person scams, small business education, phone scams, Internet scams and scams on the rise. Scam Awareness Day is supported by a week-long advocacy and awareness campaign, #StopScams, aimed at exposing the tactics scammers use to steal money from utility customers and on educating customers on how to protect themselves.
“According to the Federal Trade Commission, so far this year nearly 20,000 New Jerseyans have reported scams costing them more than $25 million,” said Greg Dunlap, PSE&G vice president of customer operations. “It is our hope that information about scams will be widely shared throughout our service communities so that we can work together to raise awareness of utility impostor scams — not just on Utility Scam Awareness Day, but all year long.”
UUAS’ publication, “Consumer’s Guide to Imposter Utility Scams,” is designed to help customers better protect themselves, their neighbors and loved ones from the harmful impacts of an utility impostor scam. Scammers typically use three tactics – phone, in-person, or online – to target the money, property and personal information of utility customers. The guide includes helpful information such as:
Signs of Potential Scam Activity:
- Threat to disconnect: Scammers may aggressively tell the customer his or her utility bill is past due and service will be disconnected if a payment is not made – usually within less than an hour.
- Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct the customer to purchase a prepaid card, a gift card or even Bitcoins and then to call them back supposedly to make a bill payment to his or her utility company.
- Request for card information: When the customer calls back, the caller 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.
How Customers Can Protect Themselves:
- Customers should never purchase a prepaid card, gift card or use Bitcoins to avoid service disconnection or shutoff. Before terminating service, PSE&G alerts customers in a number of ways: messages on their bill, letters and phone calls. PSE&G would never demand a specific type of payment nor threaten immediate service termination. While there are many ways to pay a bill, the utility only accepts credit card and prepaid card payments through Western Union Speedpay, which charges a $3.95 processing fee.
- If someone threatens immediate disconnection or shutoff of service, customers should hang up the phone, delete the text or email or shut the door. Customers with delinquent accounts receive an advance disconnection notification, typically by mail and included with their regular monthly bill. PSE&G never sends a single notification one hour or less before disconnection.
- If customers suspect someone is trying to scam them, they should hang up, delete the text or email, or shut the door. They should then call their utility company at the number on their monthly bill or the company’s website, not the phone number the scammer provides. If customers ever feel that they are in physical danger, they should call 911. Report all scam attempts by calling your utility and local police department, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
More information about scams is available on the PSE&G website, pseg.com/scamalert. Visit www.utilitiesunited.org for more information and tips about how you can protect yourself from scams or follow along on Twitter: @U_U_A_S and Facebook: @UtilitiesUnited for the latest updates. UUAS recently was awarded the Toll-Free Industry’s Fraud Fighter Award in recognition of its advocacy and awareness campaign to stop scams that target electric, water and natural gas company customers.
Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) is New Jersey’s oldest and largest regulated gas and electric delivery utility, serving nearly three-quarters of the state’s population. PSE&G is the winner of the ReliabilityOne Award for superior electric system reliability. PSE&G is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PSEG) (NYSE:PEG), a diversified energy company.