The New Year is in full swing and so are scams targeting utility customers both nationwide and here in New Hampshire. According to a statement from Eversource, customers in many towns around the state have been approached by scammers, either on the phone or at their door. To warn customers, Eversource and the NH Public Utilities Commission are sharing the tell-tale signs of scams, so they can avoid becoming a victim.
“The scammers, often sounding legitimate and quite convincing, threaten to shut off electric service immediately unless instant payment is made,” says Eversource Senior VP/CCO Penni Conner. “These scammers can be relentless but they’re only successful if they catch our customers off-guard and scare them into making a payment. We remind customers, if something doesn’t sound right or feel right, trust your gut, and don’t pay.”
“One similarity in many utility scams is a sense of urgency, with scammers often convincing consumers that payment must be made immediately,” says Amanda Noonan, director of consumer services and external affairs for the NHPUC. “The more we educate consumers on the basic red flags of a scam, the less likely they are to become victims.”
Tips to help avoid becoming a victim:
- Eversource representatives never demand instant payment over the phone, require the use of pre-paid debit cards or request customers meet at a payment center to make the payment.
- Never provide personal financial or account information to any unsolicited person on the phone, at the door or online, even if they seem legitimate.
- Beware, some sophisticated scammers can manipulate their caller ID to say the caller is with Eversource.
- Customers who are scheduled for disconnection due to nonpayment receive a written notice that includes information on how to maintain their service.
- Customers can verify they are speaking with an Eversource representative by asking for some basic information about their account like the name on the account, the account address, and the exact past due balance.
Eversource urges anyone who has doubts about the legitimacy of a call, visit or an offer, to contact the company directly at 800-662-7764. Eversource.com has additional information on how to avoid being a victim of utility scams.