Scammers are preying on Eversource customers in increasing numbers — masquerading as Eversource employees through use of counterfeit uniforms, badges, and caller identifications, according to Eversource spokesman Reid Lamberty. Lamberty said low income households and the elderly seem to be disproportionately targeted by scammers who often impress a sense of urgency upon their marks by demanding a utility payment to avoid a power cut. The demands are being made both by door knockers and callers, he said. Immediate payments, often in cash or prepaid debit cards, are routinely insisted, he said.
“We never demand instant payment,” he said.
Often, Lamberty noted, crooks will ask to see an electricity customer’s bill or ask for the account number, Lamberty said. Once they have this information they can switch the electric service to another, more costly carrier without the home or business owner knowing.
Eversource, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Better Business Bureau, has compiled some tip to help avoid being victimized by utility scammers.
- Eversource representatives never demand instant payment over the phone, require the use of prepaid 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.
Lamberty said a recent Eversource survey found 84 percent of Eversource customers have been contacted by a fraudulent party claiming to be from Eversource, be acting on behalf of Eversource, or otherwise be associated with Eversource.
Information about national scams can be found at the Better Business Bureau’s ScamTracker.