Capital Region

National Grid warning of phone scam demanding immediate payment amid COVID-19

A National Grid truck in Schenectady in 2017
PHOTOGRAPHER:
A National Grid truck in Schenectady in 2017

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County

ALBANY – National Grid is warning customers to watch out for a new phone scam where impostors demand immediate bill payment and threaten service disconnection.

The scam targets customers already facing hardships due to the COVID-19 crisis and involves individuals who pretend to be National Grid representatives, the company said.

The callers tell customers that unless payment is made within 30 minutes, their power will be shut off. The scammer then directs the customer to call “the direct billing department to make a payment and avoid power disconnection.”

The scammers use a sophisticated phone system that displays National Grid on the customer’s caller ID and the number customers are directed to call resembles the company’s recorded messaging and phone prompt directions, the company said.

“These elements make it difficult to differentiate an actual National Grid call from an impostor’s call,” the company said in a release. “When in doubt, customers should hang up and call the National Grid customer service number on their bill.”

The company also noted that they temporarily suspended collections-related activities, including service disconnections on March 13 to lessen the financial hardship caused by the pandemic. 

Anyone who is having trouble paying their bills should take advantage of bill payment options or speak with a company consumer advocate, the company said.

National Grid said consumers can help detect scammers by knowing their account number and asking the caller to provide the last five digits. If the caller doesn’t know the number and asks questions about your account balance and other details, you should hang up and call National Grid or local law enforcement to report the incident.

Also, National Grid won’t contact customers to demand immediate payment by wire transfer, Green Dot Money-Pak or any other pre-paid card service.

Residents should never offer personal or financial information to someone they cannot identify. More information on scams can be found at the National Grid website at NationalGridus.com/Scam-Alert.

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