Fraudsters don’t take summer vacations.
Orange and Rockland Utility issued an alert on Tuesday warning the public of a phony bill payment scheme that has been making the rounds, where scammers pose as company representatives and call customers, demanding immediate payment before service is shut down.
According to Orange and Rockland officials, “unsuspecting utility customers across the nation, most recently at in O&R’s service territory, have been bilked by these bogus claims by crooks who insist on payment the day of the contact.”
Officials said that both Spanish and English speaking individuals have been posing as employees, calling to say service will be disconnected if an immediate payment is not made using a prepaid debit card. The calls are sometimes prerecorded, officials noted.
Customers are then instructed to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak at a local pharmacy or convenience store, and then to provide the number on the card once the money is deposited. Customers are further advised that if they do not immediately call back with the information, their service will be turned off on the spot.
“Typically, after the customer provides the MoneyPak number, the scammer steals the customer’s money by transferring the funds from the MoneyPak to a prepaid card and then cashing it in at an ATM. O&R urges anyone who is contacted in this fashion to break off contact with the crooks and call O&R Customer Service at 1-877-434-4100.”
If a customer is contacted by a potential scammer, residents have been advised to “verify their identity, either ask for their photo ID card, if they are at the door, or call O&R at 1-877-434-4100 to verify their identity and the nature of their business with you. O&R employees are trained to cooperate with this request and happy to comply with an identity verification request.”
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