NSTAR renewed its warning this week about scammers who call residents and businesses owners to say the utility company will shut off their power unless payment is made immediately after two Martha’s Vineyard residents reported attempts by a man named Donald to cheat NSTAR customers.
“While the scammers keep changing the scenario they use to pressure customers into making hasty, often large payments to keep the power on, the scheme to get the money remains basically the same,” NSTAR spokesman Michael Durand said in a press release. “A caller tells the targeted customer the only way to keep the power on is to pay quickly using a card or, in the case of some customers, a money transfer.”
Penni Conner, senior vice president and chief customer officer at Northeast Utilities, NSTAR’s parent company, advised customers not to divulge any personal information or make payments by phone. “If any of our customers suspect someone is making a false claim about being a representative of NSTAR, they should end the call immediately and notify us at 1-800-592-2000,” she said.
NSTAR representatives do not demand instant payment over the phone. Customers can verify they are speaking with an NSTAR representative, who will always be able to confirm the name of the account, the address, and the exact past balance due, by asking for some basic information about their account. “This is a nationwide scam that has been going on for years now,” said Mr. Durand.