The fraudster claimed that the man’s electric bill was past due and that service would be shut off unless payment via Western Union was made immediately, New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said. The resident sent the money via Western Union, police said.
The man later Saturday called Eversource to complain after losing power at his residence — but it turned out the outage was due to a downed tree, police said. An Eversource representative told the resident he had been defrauded, police said.
The man filed a complaint with police on Sunday.
This scam has been reported throughout Fairfield County, and residents as well as small businesses have been targeted.
According to Eversource, company representatives never demand instant payment, and do not require the use of prepaid debit cards. In addition, remember the following tips:
• Never provide personal financial or utility account information to any unsolicited individual, in person, on the phone, or online, even if the individual seems legitimate.
• Remember that customers who are scheduled for disconnection due to nonpayment receive written notice that includes the actions they can take to maintain service.
• Verify that you are speaking with an Eversource representative by asking for basic information about your account such as the name on the account, the account address, and the exact past due balance.
Eversource urges anyone who has any doubts about a call or a home visit to contact the company directly at 1-800-286-2000, and to report the incident to local police immediately.
This scam is similar to “Green Dot scams,” where victims are told they can avoid penalties by purchasing Green Dot MoneyPak prepaid gift cards at a store, police said. The victims are told to call back and provide the gift card serial number. Once the scammer has the serial number, they are able to transfer those funds.
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