November 26, 2021 | Weston today
It’s the season for a lot of things, including scams. Eversource and the Better Business Bureau urge you to be on the lookout for two that involve utility bills.
In a scam, you receive a legitimate sounding call threatening to cut off your electrical service unless you pay instantly, sometimes with a prepaid debit card. That last part alone “should be a red flag,” says Eversource executive vice president Penni Conner.
âCon artists are constantly changing their tactics to take advantage of unsuspecting customers and prey on people when they feel most vulnerable, such as during the holidays,â Ms. Conner said.
âIf you get a call or text and something’s wrong, don’t panic and pay. Remember, we will never threaten to disconnect the service or demand instant payment over the phone. “
Another tactic used is the overpayment scam, when fake company representatives call claiming that you have overpaid your utility bill. They ask you for your personal bank account or credit card information so they can supposedly issue a refund.
In addition, âphishingâ and âsmishingâ scams are increasingly common: text messages from scammers claiming to be from a reputable company and asking for personal information.
How to avoid getting ripped off
Better Business Bureau Vice President Jackie MacKnight gives this advice: never give out personal or utility account information unless you initiate the call and know the identity of the company you are speaking with.
âIf you receive a suspicious call, hang up and call your utility directly,â she said.
Eversource provides these tips:
- Company representatives never demand instant payment over the phone.
- Eversource never requires the use of prepaid debit cards.
- Eversource never asks customers to meet at a payment center, like a Walmart or a grocery store, to make a payment.
The company says customers scheduled to be disconnected for non-payment receive a written notice with information on how to maintain their service.
You can verify that you are actually talking to an Eversource representative by requesting basic account information: account name, account address, and exact overdue balance.
If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a call, visit, or offer, contact Eversource directly at 1-800-286-2000. For more information on how to protect personal information and avoid falling victim to utility scams, visit Eversource.com.