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National Fuel warns customers of utility scams

by jmaloni

Submitted

Tue, Mar 18th 2014 06:30 pm

National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. cautions customers to be aware of scammers acting as utility representatives, threatening service shutoff and demanding immediate payments. Utility customers should not respond to these calls, and they should contact National Fuel immediately to verify their account statuses.

Customers should look for the following warning sign: These callers will not accept payment by credit card or check as National Fuel does. Instead, the scammer wants the customer to pay by prepaid debit card. The scammer instructs the customer to obtain one and call him or her back. Prepaid debit cards are like cash. Once the money is transferred, a customer will be unable to redeem it.

Scammers use a variety of ways to prey on utility customers. They may also claim the gas meter is not working properly and must be immediately replaced at the customer's expense or the gas service will be shut off. Other scammers use email to reach customers. Customers should be aware of emails disguised as overdue notices from the utility. Clicking on a link or attachment may load malware on your computer.

Because National Fuel does sometimes contact their customers by phone, it can be difficult to tell a scammer from a real customer service agent. Here are some tips:

Prepaid debit cards are a red flag. If a caller specifically asks for payment by prepaid debit card or wire transfer, this is a warning sign. National Fuel will accept a check or credit card.

Remember gas meters are the property of National Fuel and would be the responsibility of the utility to replace or repair.

Never allow anyone into your home to check natural gas lines, meters or appliances without asking to see proper identification that the person is a utility employee.

National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. is the utility segment of National Fuel Gas Co., a diversified energy company that is engaged in a number of natural gas-related activities. The utility provides natural gas service to approximately 730,000 customers in Western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. To learn more about natural gas safety, visit www.NationalFuelGas.com.

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