New signs posted at retailer checkouts warn customers of prepaid card scam
MANCHESTER, N.H. (November 15, 2017)
-- Eversource business and residential customers continue to pick up their phones and open their doors to find individuals 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. This week, 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 New Hampshire 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 short time frame. Scammers usually demand immediate payment with a gift card or 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 1-800-662-7764 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 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. "You're being targeted by a scammer if you receive a call demanding a hasty payment with a gift card," said Londonderry Police Det. Chris Olson. "Another sign is a request for payment of a high amount, much more than a monthly bill. If you know your monthly bill isn't that high, that should be a red flag. Contact your energy company to verify a representative is who they say they are. If something seems suspicious, call the police right away."
- 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 them directly at 1-800-662-7764. The company tracks these types of customer concerns and reports them to state regulators.
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 the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission at 603-271-2431.
Eversource (NYSE: ES) is New Hampshire's largest electric utility, serving more than 500,000 homes and businesses in 211 cities and towns and is proud to be recognized as the top contributor to United Way in New Hampshire. Recognized as the top U.S. utility for its energy efficiency programs by the sustainability advocacy organization Ceres, Eversource harnesses the commitment of its approximately 8,000 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and superior customer service. For more information, please visit our website (www.eversource.com) and follow us on Twitter (@eversourceNH) and Facebook (facebook.com/EversourceNH).