PSE&G Alerts Customers to Be Aware of Scammers
(NEWARK, N.J. – February 21, 2019) Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), New Jersey’s largest utility, is reminding customers to stay alert to scammers, particularly those posing as utility workers or demanding immediate payment for utility bills.
Several law enforcement agencies in the tristate area have reported a rise in scam activity recently and customers need to remain vigilant. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the top scams in New Jersey are impostor scams and debt collection scams. Last year, more than 20,000 people in our state reported scams costing over $25 million. In 2018, more than 300 scams were reported to PSE&G – a 25 percent increase over 2017.
PSE&G encourages business customers, in particular, to be cautious about anyone who demands immediate payment and residential customers to ask for identification before allowing utility workers inside a home. Anyone who is suspicious should call customer service, 1-800-436-7734, to confirm identity before allowing entry. PSE&G employees have proper identification and usually arrive in PSE&G vehicles.
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 with no advance notice from PSE&G, customers should hang up the phone or delete the text or email. 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.
PSE&G is a member of Utilities United Against Scams, #StopScams. 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.
Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G) is New Jersey’s oldest and largest gas and electric delivery public utility, serving nearly three-quarters of the state’s population. PSE&G is the winner of the ReliabilityOne Award for superior electric system reliability as well as the 2018 Outstanding Customer Reliability Experience Award. PSE&G is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PSEG) (NYSE:PEG), a diversified energy company. PSEG has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America for 11 consecutive years.