Consumers are being urged to beware of a scam in which payment is demanded by phone with the threat of utilities being turned off, the power company National Grid said.
In the scam, callers claim to work for National Grid and say payment must be made via a prepaid card or they will shut off the power. Some also claim the person answering the call has a faulty meter and that they must pay to replace it. Likewise, they are asked to make a payment using a prepaid card if they want to keep on their electricity.
The use of a prepaid card would leave no recourse for the consumer to recover their money. Once the money is sent, it will be lost.
National Grid said that it recently started hearing about these scams from customers. The company has alerted law enforcement officials.
"National Grid does contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options, but never demands direct payment over the telephone," the company said. "If customers wish, they can arrange for a payment by check, credit card or debit card if they speak directly to a customer service representative. Payment can also be made by credit card or debit card without a representativeâ€™s assistance."
Any National Grid customer in New England who gets such a call is asked to call the company at 1-800-322-3223.
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About the author
Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at ConsumerNews@Aol.com