NEWARK — PSE&G is warning its customers about a scam in which individuals misrepresenting themselves as PSE&G employees threaten to turn off electric and gas service if payment is not made to them that day.
The scam, which has been reported across the country, involves payments using Green Dot MoneyPaks and seems to be targeting Hispanic neighborhoods in PSE&G’s service territory. As noted on the MoneyPak packaging and on the company’s web site, to protect themselves from fraud, consumers should treat the MoneyPak like cash and only use the MoneyPak number with businesses on their approved partner list.
“We take very seriously any attempt to defraud our customers,” said Joseph A. Forline, vice president of customer solutions for PSE&G. “We are working closely with law enforcement to investigate these scams. In the meantime, we ask our customers to be wary of callers who demand immediate payment and threaten service termination. When in doubt, hang up and call PSE&G directly at the phone number listed on your bill.”
PSE&G alerted the public to a similar scam in January 2012. Reports indicate that this scam is again targeting Hispanic customers, but this time not exclusively.
Here is how the scam works:
- A Spanish- or English-speaking individual pretending to be a PSE&G employee calls customers saying their service would be disconnected if they do not make a payment using a prepaid debit card. In some cases, the call is prerecorded.
- Customers are told to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak at a pharmacy or convenience store, use cash to put money onto the card, and then provide the number on the card to the person who called them.
- Customers are advised that if they do not immediately call back and provide the MoneyPak information, their service will be turned off that day.
- Typically, after the customer provides that MoneyPak number, the scammer transfers the funds to a prepaid card, and cashes it in at an ATM.
What to do if you get a call
When PSE&G makes an outbound phone call to customers, customer-specific information is shared with the customer. That information includes the account name, address, number and current balance. If customers do not receive this correct 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 and online at: http://www.pseg.com/centers
Any customer who has doubts about the legitimacy of any call from PSE&G, especially one in which payment is requested, should call the utility directly, the utility advises.
PSE&G is working with law enforcement to investigate the matter and is also reaching out to its contacts at local community service agencies asking them to spread the word to their clients.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!