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Police Department- Community Services Unit

Posted on: September 28, 2017

ALERT:Power Shut Off Scams

NOTICE TO RESIDENTS:

Your utility company will NEVER demand you to immediately pay for a bill by way of a pre-paid visa card. Electric company "power shut off" scams have been making their way through town. Please read the following for important information and as always share this to help spread the word. 

Power Shut Off Scams

Caller demands immediate payment 
AKA: Pre-Paid Debit Card Payment Scam, Green Dot, Money Gram or Western Union scam

In this widespread scam, which frequently targets small businesses, a telephone caller poses as an electric utility company employee. The caller threatens to shut off the customer’s power unless an immediate payment is made. In many cases, the customer is told to use a pre-paid debit card, such as a Green Dot/MoneyPak card, or a money transfer service like Money Gram or Western Union.

In at least one case, the victim was directed to pay in person at a physical location. In some cases individuals posing as utility workers have also appeared on site, threatening to shut off power.

The facts:

If your account is past due, you will receive a written notice of your account status, with instructions on how to avoid disconnection of service. 
While a representative may call a customer whose bill is in arrears in order to remind them that a payment is due, the representative would explain how a payment can be made using established payment options. They will not demand payment over the phone, in person, or at a particular physical location.
Utilities do not accept prepaid debit cards or wire transfers as payment, and our representatives will not demand your bank information or credit card number over the phone.

What should you do:

If you receive a suspicious call, hang up immediately. 
Be aware that scammers often use Caller ID spoofing software to misrepresent the source of a phone call, or provide you with a fake "verification" phone number. These call-back numbers may even include exact replicas of company greetings and hold messaging. If you would like to verify your account status, always call your provider's Customer Service department using the numbers on their website, or log in to your account on their website. 
If you believe you have been a victim of this scam, please contact us immediately at 973-325-4000.



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