YPD offers tips on avoiding utility scams

YARMOUTH – Yarmouth Police report that there has been an increase in scams that involve demands to pay alleged overdue bills from utility companies. This scam involves callers pretending to be employees of companies such as Eversource (formerly NStar), National Grid, Verizon, or other public utility companies.

The scam caller will state they are from the Billing or Disconnect Department of the utility, and tell you that your bill is overdue. The caller demands a payment immediately so that your service is not shut off. Additionally, the scammer might tell you that equipment on your house is out of date and request payment for important upgrades to continue service. It is not uncommon for the scammer to have some of your personal information such as your name and address. Scammers have the ability to trick your caller ID into displaying the actual phone number and/or name of the utility company. This is known as “spoofing” and adds false credence to the scammer’s ruse.

Never, ever give out any information to someone who calls you and demands money on an overdue bill, even if the bill is overdue. Do not give them your name, address, phone number, account number or any financial information; even if it seems that they already know who you are.

A legitimate company will notify you by US mail regarding overdue bills and service shut offs. If you haven’t received a notice in the mail, your service is not in jeopardy. Utility companies will never ask you to pay your bills using a prepaid debit cards such as Green Dot or Money Pak. They will not take a payment by Western Union. They will not threaten you to make a payment either.

If you receive a call and are not sure if it’s legitimate, do not panic, and do not pay! Hang up the phone and call the company’s customer service number to ask about your account.
Media release furnished by Yarmouth Police

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