BERLIN -- Local residents have been receiving phone calls from scammers purporting to represent Eversource, demanding money and threatening to cut off someone’s power if they don’t receive immediate payment, police warn.
“Unfortunately, these calls occur practically every day and our customers in Berlin are the latest targets,” Eversource spokesperson Mitchell Gross said Tuesday. “The covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in scam activity, with sophisticated scammers finding unique and intimidating ways to exploit people and steal their money during these uncertain times.”
Berlin police said the most recent round of scams has affected residents and businesses. They warn that the suspects often ask for odd methods of payment, which can include paying with a gift card.
According to police, no reputable utility company collects debts on the spot or over the phone, and none will ask for payment via gift card or a preloaded debit card.
Furthermore, Gross said that Eversource “never asks for instant payment,” adding that “we’re not disconnecting any customers for non-payment during this emergency period.”
Gross also said the power company will never ask for personal information over the phone. Additionally, Eversource has suspended all nonessential work, including routine meter changes, during the pandemic.
“Also, meters do not suddenly expire, so be wary of calls claiming payment is necessary for a new meter to be installed because the current meter is about to expire,” Gross said.
Police encourage individuals who are suspicious of a phone call to look up the legitimate phone number of the purported company and use that number. Do not use a phone number provided during a call, police advised.
Gross said Eversource asks individuals who receive a suspicious phone call or home visit to report it to their local police department and to call the company directly at 860-286-2000.
“We’re always working to help our customers protect themselves against scams, which is especially important today as sophisticated scammers are trying to take advantage of the uncertainty and nervousness caused by the pandemic,” Gross said.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.