BERLIN — Whether it’s over the phone, online or at the front door, sophisticated scammers are finding unique ways to exploit people and steal their money, and Eversource wants its customers to beware of the seasonal increase in utility scams. These scammers often pose as Eversource employees to get money, demand personal information for identity theft, or use deceptive marketing tactics to convince customers to switch energy suppliers. This week — as part of Utilities United Against Scams, which is a consortium of over 100 energy companies — Eversource is urging its customers to look for the signs of scammers.
“We always want to protect our customers from scams, and that’s why it’s critical we continue to raise awareness and educate the public about all the different tactics these scammers use,” said Eversource Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Penni Conner. “If someone shows up at your home or calls you and demands immediate payment, do NOT give it to them. Call us right away at 1-800-286-2000 to verify ANY request for payment or personal information.”
A common utility con involves customers getting phone calls warning that their service is about to be shut off because of unpaid bills. The caller claims to be a billing representative from Eversource who tells a customer that to avoid an immediate shutoff, they need to settle an overdue bill by providing a credit card number or a prepaid debit card. In many cases, the caller ID will display “Eversource.” Both businesses and homeowners are targeted and, unfortunately, scammers are often successful. According to the Better Business Bureau’s 2018 Scam Tracker Risk Report, the median loss for a utility scam victim is $500.
The energy company wants to remind its customers:
• Eversource representatives never demand 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.
• All Eversource employees carry photo identification; field workers wear company logoed clothing and drive company vehicles.
Eversource urges anyone who believes they are a target of improper solicitation to please alert local law enforcement and contact the company directly at 1-800-286-2000. The energy company tracks these types of customer concerns and reports them to state regulators.
Eversource.com 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 Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) at 1-800-382-4586.