NEWARK – PSE&G is telling its customers that they should not fall for the an urban myth which claims that President Obama is directly paying their utility bills. The state’s largest utility is reporting that customers are being duped into believing that their bills can be paid electronically using a Federal Reserve bank routing number.
The myth, which has been spreading person to person via phone, Twitter and texting, started as a nationwide phony bill payment program that promised to credit or pay utility bills in exchange for personal information, including social security numbers.
Customers are being led to believe that their utility bills will be paid on their behalf if they use a Federal Reserve bank routing number. While use of the routing number when making an online payment appears to result in a zero bill balance, the funds are not available from the federal government and the attempted payment will fail similar to a returned check. PSE&G is telling its customers that this is a scam, there are no payments being applied to their accounts, and their PSE&G account balances remain due.
PSE&G is taking the following steps to alert customers and stop the misinformation from spreading:
- Blocking the use of any Federal Reserve numbers as a means to pay bills electronically. Customers will receive a payment denial message.
- Sending automated phone messages to customers who believe their bills were actually paid via the use of the routing numbers.
- Emailing all customers for whom we have email addresses.
- Posting messages on its Website and on its Twitter pages.
- Providing warning messages on the company’s customer service phone line.
- PSE&G does not contact its customers to ask for social security numbers, nor does the company ask for usernames and passwords from customers who access their PSE&G accounts online.
What to do if you are contacted:
- If you are contacted by someone purporting to be from PSEG requesting your social security number, username or password, do not provide it. Also, do not click on any links accompanying the message or respond in any manner.
- Instead: Send an email to PSE&G’s security department at PSEG-BAandR@pseg.com with details about what occurred.
When PSE&G makes an outbound phone call to customers, the caller ID will identify the call as coming from PSE&G and customer-specific information is shared with the customer. If customers do not receive the correct pieces of information, they likely are not speaking with a PSE&G representative.
If customers feel uncomfortable and they know they have an outstanding balance that needs to be resolved, they should hang up and call PSE&G directly at 1-800-436-7734 or visit a local PSE&G Customer Service Center. Service Centers are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with locations listed on customer bills. Addresses also are available online at: http://www.pseg.com/centers.
Customers who have doubts about the legitimacy of any call from PSE&G, especially one in which payment is requested, should call the utility directly at 1-800-436-7734.