Energy company reminds customers to remain vigilant as scammers continue to exploit COVID-19 pandemic
With sophisticated scammers constantly finding unique ways to exploit utility customers, Eversource is always working to help customers protect themselves from being targeted. In addition to an increase in scam activity related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the energy company is warning its customers of the seasonal spike in utility scams as the holidays approach. In recognition of Utility Scam Awareness Week, Eversource is joining energy companies across the country in helping customers identify the signs of scammers to keep themselves and their families safe.
“The health and safety of our customers is paramount, and that’s why we’re always working to raise awareness for the deceptive tactics scammers use to steal people’s money and sensitive personal information,” said Eversource Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Penni Conner. “If you suspect that you’re being targeted by a scammer, please call your local police to report the incident right away. Eversource will never demand instant payment over the phone or ask for personal information in an unsolicited call, text message or email. If someone shows up at your home or calls you and demands immediate payment, don’t panic, and don’t pay. Please call us directly at 800-662-7764 to verify that it’s not us.”
The most common utility scam involves customers receiving a phone call warning that their service will be shut off because of unpaid bills. The scammer claims to be a representative from Eversource and tells the customer that in order to avoid an immediate shutoff, they need to settle an overdue bill by providing a credit card number or a prepaid debit card. In many cases, the scammer can manipulate the caller ID to display “Eversource,” creating a greater sense of confusion and urgency. Both businesses and homeowners have been targeted by this type of scam, with businesses often contacted at a time of day when losing power would have a devastating impact on their ability to serve customers.
“A common tactic scammers use is creating fear and panic to trick utility customers into making a hasty payment or providing sensitive personal information,” said New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission Director of Consumer Services Amanda Noonan. “We want to make sure consumers know how to spot the red flags of utility scams so that they can protect themselves if they’re targeted. Customers should never give out their personal information or utility account information, unless they have initiated the call and know the identity of the company they are speaking with. If you receive a suspicious call, hang up and call your utility back directly.”
Eversource urges anyone who believes they are a target of improper solicitation to immediately contact local law enforcement. For more information on how to protect personal information and avoid becoming a victim of utility scams, visit Eversource.com and the Utilities United Against Scams websites. Customers can also report scams and fraudulent activity by calling the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission at 603-271-2431.