Learn to Spot Utility Scams
Posted: November 23, 2022
Scammers continue to impersonate PSE&G representatives and take advantage of unsuspecting victims. PSE&G urges customers to understand scammers’ tactics and know what to do if confronted with a request for private account information or a demand for immediate payment. If customers are ever in doubt about the legitimacy of a contact from PSE&G, they should call PSE&G at 800-436-PSEG (7734).
According to information provided to PSE&G by its customers in 2022, roughly 1,000 customers reported they were a victim of a utility scam or scam attempt.
Scammer tactics are becoming increasingly sophisticated, but utility impostor scams are oftentimes as simple as a scammer posing as a customer’s local utility representative in person or over the phone.
Learn how to spot potential utility scam activity. Signs of potential utility scam activity include:
- Threat to disconnect: Scammers may aggressively tell the customer their utility bill is past due and service will be disconnected if a payment is not made—usually within an hour.
- Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct the customer to purchase a prepaid card, a gift card or even Bitcoin, and then to call them back to make a phone payment. They may request that the customer use a payment app to make an online payment, or even give instructions for an in-person meeting. Many times, after the customer makes the first payment, the scammer will call back to ask for the payment to be resubmitted due to an error with the amount. The scammer refers to a new amount and claims that the original payment will be refunded.
- Request for card information: If a customer calls back with requested information, the scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s number or gift-card PIN, which grants the scammer instant access to the card’s funds, and the victim’s money is gone.
- In person-demands: Scammers may arrive at a home or business, flash a fake ID and/or claim to be a utility collection representative. The impostors may wear “uniforms” or affix false company signs to their vehicles. The scammers generally ask for personal information or offer discounts, which a real PSE&G representative would not do.
For more information on scams, visit the PSE&G website.