The classic utility scam typically involves a caller threatening to disconnect a customer’s electric or gas service because of an unpaid bill and demanding immediate payment. In the case of a Plainville-based company, scammers posing as Eversource have continued to target them – threatening to shut off power unless an immediate payment was made.
“We get scam calls all the time. Last month alone we got multiple calls threatening to disconnect our power,” said Kim Masse of Northeast Garage Door Systems, LLC. “They have been robocalls telling us to ‘press 1 to pay.’ I went online to insure my Eversource bill was correct and I contacted a company representative. I even called the robocall number back and got a recording that it was an unworkable number. I hope my story helps other businesses identify the red flags so they can avoid falling victim to these scammers.”
In addition to scams like the one targeted at Northeast Garage Door Systems, Eversource is warning customers about new techniques being employed to steal customers’ money. Some of the energy company’s customers have reported receiving a call from someone claiming to be from Eversource and using a real employee’s name offering a discount on their electric bill. Others have reported receiving an email that contains the Eversource logo. These are new deceptive tactics scammers are using to steal someone’s money and sensitive personal information.
“Scammers are constantly changing their tactics to take advantage of unsuspecting customers, and that’s why we’re always working to raise awareness,” said Eversource Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Penni Conner. “Northeast Garage Door Systems did exactly what we always advise our customers to do if they receive a phone call, email or visit that doesn’t feel right – don’t panic and don’t pay. We will never threaten to disconnect your service or demand instant payment.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers have increased their calls, texts, emails, and in-person visits to convince people to make payments to avoid service disconnection. Scammers are opportunists – often targeting the most vulnerable, including senior citizens and low-income communities. They also create panic for business owners and even major manufacturers, threatening to disrupt their most critical hours of operation.
The energy company offers the following tips to help avoid becoming a victim:
Eversource representatives never demand instant payment over the phone, require the use of pre-paid debit cards or request customers meet at a payment center to make the payment.
Never provide personal financial or account information to any unsolicited person on the phone, at the door or online, even if they seem legitimate.
Beware – some sophisticated scammers can manipulate their caller ID to say the caller is with Eversource.
Customers who are scheduled for disconnection due to nonpayment receive a written notice that includes information on how to maintain their service.
Customers can verify they are speaking with an Eversource representative by asking for some basic information about their account like the name on the account, the account address, and the exact past due balance.
Eversource urges anyone who believes they are a target of improper solicitation to immediately contact local law enforcement. Customers are also encouraged to contact the energy company at l-800-286-2000 if they receive a call, text, email or if someone shows up at your door to verify it’s Eversource.
For more information on how to protect personal information and avoid becoming a victim of utility scams, visit eversource.com and the Utilities United Against Scams websites. Customers can also report scams and fraudulent activity by calling the Connecticut Attorney General's Consumer Assistance Unit at 860-808-5420.