National Grid is warning Western New York customers to beware of a new phone scam where imposters are demanding immediate bill payment and threatening service disconnection. This latest scam, which is targeting customers already facing hardships due to COVID-19, involves callers who pretend to be National Grid representatives. They tell customers that, unless payment is made within 30 minutes, their power will be shut off. The customer is then directed to call “the direct billing department to make a payment and avoid power disconnection.”
The scammers use sophisticated phone systems that display National Grid on the customer’s caller ID. Additionally, the phone number customers are instructed to call closely resembles the company’s recorded messaging and phone prompt directions. These elements make it difficult to differentiate an actual National Grid call from an imposter’s call.
When in doubt, customers should hang up and call the National Grid customer service number on their bill.
National Grid reminds customers that, on March 13, the company temporarily suspended collections-related activities, including service disconnections, to lessen any financial hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company continues to encourage customers struggling to pay their bills to take advantage of bill payment options or to call to speak with one of its consumer advocates.
Additional Tips to Protect Against Scams
National Grid urges customers to be cautious of scammers and offers the following tips:
√ National Grid representatives will know your account number; never offer that information to a caller.
√ Ask the caller to provide the last five digits of your National Grid account number. If the caller doesn’t know your account number, asks questions about your account balance and associated details, or if you have any doubt the caller is a National Grid representative, take charge and immediately hang up. Call National Grid or local law enforcement officials to report the incident.
√ National Grid will not contact customers demanding immediate payment by wire transfer, Green Dot Money-Pak or any other pre-paid card service.
√ Never – under any circumstances – offer personal or financial information to someone who you cannot identify.
For more information on scams, visit: www.nationalgridus.com/Scam-Alert.