While many people make resolutions in the new year, scammers are resolute too – developing new schemes to steal money and personal information or other sensitive data by posing as Eversource representatives. Recently there’s been a rise in calls targeting utility customers, and the energy company is reminding residents and businesses to be on the lookout for the signs of a scam whether it’s in person, over the phone, or online.
While these scams can take many forms, one common scare tactic that’s used is the overpayment scam. Scammers will call claiming that the person overpaid their utility bill and request their personal bank account or credit card information to give a refund. In many cases, the scammer can manipulate the caller ID to display “Eversource,” creating a greater sense of confusion. “Phishing” or “Smishing” scams are also increasingly common. That’s when a person receives a text message requesting personal information from scammers pretending to be from a reputable company.
“These scammers often prey on customers’ fears – threatening to shut off their power or use other deceitful tactics to scare people into giving up their money or personal information,” said Eversource Executive Vice President, Customer Experience and Energy Strategy Penni Conner. “We never demand instant payment over the phone or ask for personal information in an unsolicited call, text message, or email. If someone shows up at your home or calls you and demands immediate payment, don’t panic, and don’t pay, instead call us immediately at 800-286-2000.”
Eversource also offers these additional tips to help avoid becoming a victim:
· Eversource representatives do not require the use of prepaid debit cards, such as Green Dot MoneyPak, Vanilla, or Reloadit prepaid cards. They will also never ask customers to pay using a Bitcoin ATM.
· Eversource representatives never request customers meet at a payment center, such as a department or grocery store, to make a payment.
· Customers should never provide personal, financial, or account information to any unsolicited person on the phone, at the door, or online, even if they seem legitimate.
· Eversource does not solicit door-to-door or on the phone on behalf of third-party energy suppliers.
· All Eversource employees carry photo identification; field workers wear clothing with the company logo and drive company vehicles.
· Customers who are scheduled for disconnection due to nonpayment receive written notice that includes information on how to maintain their service.
· Customers who doubt a call, in-person interaction, text, or email is legitimate should call Eversource directly to confirm the authenticity of the contact.