Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), New Jersey’s largest utility, is urging its customers to be alert to a scam that is increasingly targeting small businesses. In the scam individuals misrepresenting themselves as PSE&G employees threaten to turn off electric and gas service if payment is not made that day with a pre-paid card. When in doubt or if suspicious in any way, PSE&G urges customers to call the number listed on their bill: 1-800-436-7734.
“This is an old scam with a new twist,” said Greg Dunlap, vice president of Customer Operations for PSE&G. “Now some scammers are imitating PSE&G’s interactive voice response system prompt menu, so when customers call them back, they hear something similar to what they would experience if they called PSE&G’s customer service line. The number of calls we’ve received from customers alerting us to this scam has increased significantly in the past several weeks.”
How does the scam work?
- An individual pretending to be a PSE&G employee calls a customer -- most often small business customers -- and tells them that without immediate payment via a pre-paid card their service will be shut off.
- Customers are given a telephone number to call back after they have purchased the card. When they call that number, they hear interactive voice response prompts that imitate those they would hear when calling the real PSE&G customer service line.
- When a fake representative answers the line, they ask for the number on the back of the pre-paid card. After the scammers have that number, they can take the money from the card -- usually within a matter of minutes.
What should customers know?
- Customers should be wary of callers who demand immediate payment and threaten service termination. PSE&G offers a number of payment options, and would never require a customer to use one specific type of payment.
- 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, it is likely that they are not speaking with a PSE&G representative.
- Any customer who has doubts about the legitimacy of a call from PSE&G should call PSE&G directly at 1-800-PSEG (7734).
- PSE&G customers scheduled for disconnection due to nonpayment receive written notice on their bill at least 10 days in advance. Customers who are struggling to pay their bill are encouraged to call PSE&G at 1-800-357-2262 to discuss payment options and visit pseg.com/help to learn about payment assistance programs that can help.
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. Small business customers who have provided their email addresses are being alerted to the scam.
Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) is New Jersey’s oldest and largest regulated gas and electric delivery utility, serving nearly three-quarters of the state’s population. PSE&G is the winner of the ReliabilityOne Award for superior electric system reliability. PSE&G is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PSEG) (NYSE:PEG), a diversified energy company.
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