NYSEG and RG&E Warns Customers of New Surge in Scam Attempts
Customers Urged to Report Calls to Company and Law Enforcement
BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK May 25, 2018 NYSEG and RG&E, subsidiaries of AVANGRID Inc. (NYSE: AGR), are urging customers to be wary of scammers posing as representatives of trusted energy companies.
In recent days, the companies have received reports of scammers threatening to cut service unless the customer makes an immediate payment over the phone using a prepaid debit card. While most customers recognize these calls as scams, a small number have been persuaded to make payments.
It's an old swindle with some new twists. Caller ID may show the call is coming from the utility. In some cases, the perpetrators seem to have specific knowledge about the customers they're calling. They may even provide a callback number that answers with a recorded greeting that's similar to the energy company's customer service line.
Typically, the caller informs the customer that a crew is on the way to shut off service unless an immediate payment is made. The perpetrators may tell the customer that the company had not received a recent payment or had incorrectly processed a payment, so the customer must pay again.
The scammer often demands the victim purchase a prepaid debit card ("Green Dot" is a common brand) to make the payment. This is a sure sign of a scam.
Perpetrators often target commercial establishments such as restaurants, sandwich shops, or markets shortly before their busiest lunch or dinner periods. However, residential customers have also reported receiving calls.
Customers should verify all information before making payments over the phone, and should recognize the red flags:
- It doesn't add up. NYSEG and RG&E will not call customers for payment if the account is in good standing.
- Always type our Web address when making an online payment at nyseg.com. Do not rely on email links. While at nyseg.com or rge.com, you can also check your account balance and any past-due amount status.
- When making a payment by phone, always ensure you are dialing our phone numbers: NYSEG customers should call 800.572.1111 (customer service); 888.315.1755 (payment arrangements) or 800.600.2275 (self-service line). RG&E customers should call 800.743.2110 (customer service); 877.266.3492 (payment arrangements) or 800.295.7323 (self-service line). Customers can also check your account status by phone.
- Do not make any payments over the phone to anyone who has contacted you or asked you to dial a different number. Use the number on your bill or the company's website.
- Pay by credit card using our web link for NYSEG and our web link for RG&E; again; do not trust email links.
- If you are mailing your payment, our address is:
NYSEG, P.O. Box 847812, Boston, MA 02284-7812
RG&E, P.O. Box 847813, Boston, MA 02284-7813.
- Pay in person at an authorized pay agent, a Walmart location or one of NYSEG or RG&E walk-in office locations by visiting nyseg.com or rge.com.
- You can easily verify the identity of any NYSEG or RG&E employee: ask for their photo ID card (if in person) or their employee number. Then contact us at 800.572.1111 (NYSEG customer service) or 800.743.2110 (RG&E customer service) to verify their identity and the nature of their business. Our employees are happy to comply with an identity verification request.
- We do not ask customers to purchase debit cards (like Green Dot cards) to make payments.
- Want to avoid payment scams entirely and keep current on your NYSEG bills? Consider enrolling in our Autopay service, where your amount due will be automatically deducted from your bank account each month. NYSEG customers can learn more about this service here, or on the back of your NYSEG bill payment stub. RG&E customers can learn more about this service here, or on the back of your RG&E bill payment stub.