ORANGE, Conn. (WTNH) — Scammers are going door-to-door claiming to be from Avangrid, the company warned on Monday.
The company, which owns Berkshire Gas, Central Maine Power, Connecticut Natural Gas, New York State Electric & Gas, Rochester Gas and Electric, Southern Connecticut Gas and United Illuminating Company has received more reports of ongoing scams across its electric and natural gas companies.
The scammers are posing as company representatives and are asking existing customers for personal information. Customers should never give out their personal or account information to unsolicited callers. If you are unsure if a call is authentic, reach out to Avangrid.
Customers should be aware of these scammer tactics:
- Caller IDs that show the call is coming from the utility company, but is actually a fraudulent phone number. Scammers may seem like they have specifics about who they’re calling, and might provide a callback number. That number may have a recorded message similar to the real company’s customer service line.
- Scammers will use fraudulent emails and send text messages that appear to be from the utility company.
- The real scammers are going door to door, claiming to be responding to reports that scammers are in your neighborhood.
- Someone are posing as a utility representative, aggressively telling customers that their account is past due. They are threatening to shut off service unless a payment is made up front, and they are requesting a non-refundable form of payment.
- The scammer will ask the customer to pay for a meter upgrade by using a debit or prepaid card.
- The scammer claims a future payment was declined or wasn’t received because of a computer glitch. They will then tell the customer to pay again with a debit card. They may also ask for asking for personal information.
To protect themselves, customers can follow these tips :
- Know the available payment methods that Avangrid offers. Customers will not be asked to purchase a prepaid card as a form of payment.
- If customers are unsure if the call is legitimate, customers can ask the caller for the last five digits of their account, if the caller doesn’t have that information, the customer should hang up and call authorities.
- Avangrid employees and contractors carry company-issued photo ID with a unique employee number. Ask for ID before providing personal or account information or letting anyone on your property. If unsure, call to confirm using the number on your bill or the company’s website.
- Be on alert for unexpected emails. Be suspicious of unexpected emails from Avangrid companies, especially if you’re not an eBill customer. Think twice before clicking links. If you’re not certain, you can make credit card payments, check balances and find other information directly the company’s website.
- Enroll in AutoPay to cut down on confusion. The amount due is automatically deducted from a bank account each month, so customers will have no concerns about an outstanding balance. More information on this payment option is available on the company’s website. If making a payment by phone, always use the company’s automated services phone numbers.
Customers who suspect that they have been victims of fraud or who feel threatened during contact with a scammer should notify their utility, local law enforcement authorities and the Federal Trade Commission. This will help authorities shut down scams and prosecute the scammers.