Customers should not provide account information, Social Security numbers to callers claiming to be from National Grid
Submitted by National Grid
National Grid encourages its customers to be vigilant and protect their personal information, as reports of utility billing and payment scams increase across upstate New York.
Customers report that emails and telephone calls claiming to be from National Grid demand immediate payment for past-due balances on their utility bills. In some cases, the customer is promised savings on their next bill. Though these scams are not new, the imposters have taken additional steps to convince customers they work for National Grid.
Customers contacted in the latest scam report that the caller will provide a name, office location from where they are calling, and an identification number. In many cases, the scammers use a practice called spoofing, where the caller ID and return number will have National Grid’s name and correct phone number.
Scammers threaten to terminate the customer’s service immediately unless payment is made, either by providing bank or credit card information, or by purchasing a prepaid debit card (such as a Green Dot card), and providing the caller with the card’s account number. Businesses contacted receive a similar threat, but are asked to make Western Union money transfers. The callers have also asked for Social Security numbers and National Grid account numbers.
After obtaining the prepaid debit card, customers are directed to call a toll-free number, which replicates National Grid’s recorded messaging and automated operator to simulate an authentic communication with the company.
The scenario may vary, but the scam’s goals remain the same: scare customers into making hasty decisions that include large financial payments and revealing sensitive personal information. Similar scams have been reported across the U.S. by other utilities.
National Grid reminds customers that, while it does contact customers with past-due balances by phone to offer payment options, it never demands direct payment through the use of a prepaid debit card – and never accepts payment through these cards. National Grid also never demands payment with the threat of immediate disconnection.
Customers who believe they have fallen victim to the scam should contact local law enforcement officials immediately. If you are provided a phone number that does not match numbers on your billing statements, it is likely that the call is a scam.
National Grid reminds customers to know the red flags and offers the following tips:
√ Be vigilant. If you believe you are current on your National Grid account, it is highly likely a call seeking payment is a scam.
√ Protect yourself. Verify you are speaking with a National Grid representative. Ask the caller to provide the last five digits of your National Grid account number. If the caller doesn’t know your account number and phishes for help, take charge and hang up immediately. National Grid representatives will know your account number.
√ Do not take the bait. Scammers will not have access to your account information, Social Security number or other personal details, and you should never offer that information if asked. National Grid representatives will know your account number.
•Scammers also may contact you by email and attempt to lure customers into clicking on a link, visiting a malicious website, revealing account information, or calling a phone number.
•While National Grid may ask for a payment to be made over the phone, the payment method will be left to the customer’s discretion.
√ Do not fall for scare tactics and threats. National Grid will not contact customers demanding immediate payment by wire transfer, Green Dot Money-Pak or any other prepaid card service.
√ Do not cave to pressure. Never – under any circumstances – offer personal or financial information to someone who you cannot identify.
•Every National Grid employee carries a photo ID badge, and contractors working for the company are also required to carry ID. If someone requesting entry into your home or business does not show identification as a National Grid employee or contractor, don’t let that person in, and call National Grid or local law enforcement.
To learn more about protecting you and your loved ones from scams, visit ngrid.com/scam.