Scammers are using the COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage, according to utility company Eversource.
Along with a slew of utility companies, Eversource is participating in Utility Scam Awareness Week, notifying its customers of common scam tactics and ways to avoid falling victim.
The most common scam tactic, according to the company, involves a caller warning a victim that services will be shut off because their utility bills have not been paid.
Generally, the scammer will impersonate an employee at a utility company and ask for the victim's credit or debit card information to avoid the impending shutoff.
Oftentimes, these scammers will ask victims to purchase prepaid cards to complete these payments, which according to Eversource, no utility company would ever do.
Scammers are able to "spoof" the phone numbers of utility companies, like Eversource, to enhance the illusion that they are indeed representatives from utility companies.
“Scammers use a variety of tricks to prey on utility customers, including creating a sense of urgency to convince consumers that payment must be made immediately,” said Connecticut Better Business Bureau Spokesperson Luke Frey. “That’s always a red flag."
Frey said that when in doubt, customers should call the number listed on their last utility bill to confirm that the suspicious call was legitimate--Eversource customers can dial 800-286-2000.
Victims can report suspected scammers to their area police department or to the Connecticut Attorney General's Consumer Assistance Unit at 860-808-5420.
“The health and safety of our customers are paramount, and that’s why we’re always working to raise awareness for the deceptive tactics scammers use to steal people’s money and sensitive personal information,” said Eversource Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Penni Conner.
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