Protect Your Loved Ones from Scams This SummerJul 15, 2019
Report imposters demanding immediate payment or attempting to access your home
Summertime is the hottest season for scammers. Reported utility billing and payment scams are resurfacing once again across National Grid’s U.S. service area and around the Northeast. And National Grid is warning its customers to beware and know the signs of a scam.
Customers who reported the scams say they were contacted by telephone and email, and in some case automated recordings, claiming to be from National Grid and who advised the customers they have a past due balance on their utility bill, even promising a savings on their next bill. The company has also received reports of imposters posing as National Grid employees attempting to gain access to customers’ homes.
The scammers threaten that service will be shut off immediately unless the customer purchases a prepaid debit card in a specific amount, such as a Green Dot card, and provides the caller with the card’s account number, or in the case of business customers, by way of a Western Union money transfer. This is a huge warning sign. These calls are not officially from National Grid and are used as a way for scammers to obtain account information.
The scenario can change, but the goal of the scammer remains the same: scare customers into making hasty, often large payments.
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 prepaid debit card and never accepts payment through these cards.
Scam artists have become increasingly sophisticated in replicating National Grid’s recorded messaging and directions for phone prompts, making it more difficult to differentiate an actual National Grid call from an imposter’s call. Similar scams have been reported across the U.S. by other utilities.
Customers who believe they have fallen victim to the scam should contact National Grid and local law enforcement officials immediately.
National Grid urges customers to know the red flags and offers the following tips:
- Customers should always contact National Grid using the toll-free telephone numbers listed on the billing statement. If you are provided a phone number that does not match the numbers on the billing statement, it is likely the call is a scam.
- Be vigilant. If you believe you are current on your National Grid account, it is highly likely a call seeking payment is a scam.
- Protect yourself. Verify you are speaking with a National Grid representative. Ask the caller to provide the last five digits of your National Grid account number. If the caller doesn’t know your account number and phishes for help, take charge and hang up immediately.
- Do not take the bait. Scammers will not have access to your account information, and you should never offer that information if asked. National Grid representatives will know your account number.
- Scammers may also contact you by email and attempt to lure customers into clicking on a link, visiting a malicious website, revealing account information, or calling a phone number.
- National Grid may ask for a payment over the phone, but will leave the method of payment to the customer.
- Do not fall for scare tactics and threats. National Grid will not contact customers demanding immediate payment by wire transfer, Green Dot Money-Pak or any other prepaid card service.
- Do not cave to pressure. Never -- under any circumstances -- offer personal or financial information to someone who you cannot identify.
- Every National Grid employee carries a photo ID card, and any contractor doing work for the company is also required to carry ID. If someone requesting entry into your home or place of business does not show an ID card, don’t let that person in and please call National Grid or your local law enforcement.
- To learn more about protecting you and your loved ones from scams, please visit ngrid.com/scam.
About National Grid
National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company serving more than 20 million people through our networks in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. We are the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates the systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain.
National Grid is transforming our electricity and natural gas networks with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Our Northeast 80×50 Pathway is an industry leading analysis for how to reach that goal in the states we serve, focusing on the power generation, heat, and transportation sectors.
Read more about National Grid’s vision to accelerate the transition to a decarbonized economy and rebuild opportunity for America’s working families in The Clean Energy Promise, an eBook written by National Grid’s U.S. president, Dean Seavers.