A few months back, we wrote a blog post warning of energy scammers and tactics they may use. We were recently informed by some of our customers of the most recent scam they have been personally affected by. Below we have given a description of a specific situation so that other customers may learn from this and be on guard:
On January 2nd, a business owner received a call from someone claiming to be from National Grid. The caller indicated that a recently submitted security deposit was insufficient and if $1,600 wasn’t paid immediately the power to the business would be shut off. The fraudulent caller then told our customer that a team was currently on its way to shut off the power.
The caller requested that the business owner go to the local National Grid office to pay the bill or he could expedite the payment through a PayPack card. As it was the day after the New Year, the owner was super swamped and agreed to just pay via PayPack. He read the registration number to the caller on the phone to complete the payment. When the owner called to confirm with National Grid that the payment was received they said that they were not aware of any such transaction. The owner told us in hindsight he should have known better but the caller knew enough about the utility process to make it sound legitimate (the business had in fact just paid a large security deposit) and being so busy he just provided the information the caller asked for.
Since this occurrence, we have also heard from additional customers that received similar calls and luckily did not give the scammer the information they requested. The customers we have heard from thus far have businesses located in the state of NY, however this can happen anywhere. As always, be extremely cautious when giving out personal information, especially authorization of a payment, without checking directly with your utility or trusted energy service provider.