BERLIN - Eversource business and residential customers continue to pick up their phones and open their doors to find people falsely claiming to be “representatives” or “employees” of Eversource on the other side.
These individuals either threaten disconnection of energy service if an immediate payment isn’t made with a prepaid debit card, or they use deceptive marketing tactics to mine for customers’ personal account information.
As part of Utilities United Against Scams, a consortium of over 100 energy companies, Eversource is urging its customers to beware of scammers and to heed law enforcement’s warnings.
A common scam impacting Connecticut energy customers - especially small businesses - involves a fraudster calling and stating that due to a customer’s “delinquent” account, a truck has been dispatched to disconnect their service unless a payment is made within a small time frame. Scammers usually demand immediate payment with a prepaid debit card, such as Green Dot MoneyPak, Vanilla or Reloadit purchased from a local retailer, in order to stop the disconnection of services. The scammers will provide the victim with a phone number to call back with their prepaid debit card information.
“The key to stopping these scammers is to stay calm - don’t panic and don’t pay,” said Penni Conner, senior vice president and chief customer officer at Eversource. “Together with our fellow energy companies, retailers and local law enforcement, we’re urging any of our customers who receive a suspicious phone call or home visit to call us at 1-800-286-2000 to verify any request for payment or personal information.”
To help combat the scams from continuing, Eversource has worked closely with local retailers who sell prepaid debit cards to post a warning signs at store checkout counters, reminding people that energy companies will never request payment with a prepaid card.
Local law enforcement is also sounding the alarm on scammers. “Unsolicited phone calls, emails, or door-to-door contacts should be regarded as suspicious,” said East Windsor Police Chief Edward DeMarco. “Be polite but firm. Say ‘no’, hang up, delete the email, or close the door. Never be afraid or embarrassed to call the police for help or to report a scam. These criminals are good at what they do and they prey on us, so get the help you need to protect yourself.”
Eversource representatives never ask for instant payment in person or over the phone.
Eversource representatives do not require the use of prepaid debit cards (such as Green Dot MoneyPak, Vanilla or Reloadit).
Eversource representatives never request customers meet at a payment center, such as a department or grocery store, to make a payment.
Eversource does not solicit door-to-door or on the phone on behalf of third-party energy suppliers.
Eversource urges anyone who believes they are a target of improper solicitation to please contact the compay directly at 1-800-286-2000. The company tracks these types of customer concerns and reports them to state regulators.
Eversource.com and the Utilities United Against Scams websites provide more information on how to protect personal information and avoid becoming a victim of utility scams. Concerned customers can also report scams and fraudulent activity by calling PURA at 1-800-382-4586.