March 4, 2016
Syracuse, N.Y. - National Grid is warning customers to beware of an ongoing utility billing scam. Over the past few years, National Gridís Customer Contact Center continues to receive calls from residential and business customers saying they were contacted by phone by individuals who claim to be from National Grid and who advise the customers they have a past due balance on their utility bill. Similar scams have been reported across the U.S.
The scam involves a caller who pretends to be with National Grid (or another utility) and tells the customer that their power will be shut off immediately unless the customer purchases a pre-paid debit card in a specific amount, such as Green Dot card, and provides the caller with the cardís account number, or in the case of business customers, by way of a Western Union money transfer. The scenario can change, but the goal of the scammer remains the same: scare customers into making hasty, often large payments.
Scammers have become increasingly sophisticated in replicating National Gridís recorded messaging and directions for phone prompts making it more difficult to differentiate an actual National Grid call from an imposterís call.
National Grid does contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options, but never demands direct payment through the use of a pre-paid debit card and never accepts payment through these cards. Customers who believe they have fallen victim to the scam should contact National Grid and report the scam to their local law enforcement officials and the Attorney Generalís office immediately.
To help protect themselves against scams, customers are encouraged to verify they are speaking with a National Grid representative. One way to do this is to have available the last five digits of their National Grid account number and ask the caller to provide those numbers.
National Grid urges customers to be cautious of scammers and offers the following tips:
About National Grid
National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is an electricity and natural gas delivery company that connects nearly 7 million customers to vital energy sources through its networks in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates the systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain.
Through its U.S. Connect21 strategy, National Grid is transforming its electricity and natural gas networks to support the 21st century digital economy with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions. Connect21 is vital to our communities' long-term economic and environmental health and aligns with regulatory initiatives in New York (REV: Reforming the Energy Vision) and Massachusetts (Grid Modernization).