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Rip-off alert: Callers pretending to be from utility corporations looking for funds, NY officers say

ALBANY, N.Y (NEWS10) — New Yorkers ought to beware of faux cellphone calls from scammers pretending to be utility corporations, the New York State Division of Client Safety and Division of Public Service stated.

The scammers say they’re searching for overdue funds and threaten to droop electrical energy companies except they obtain a cost instantly, officers stated. The caller additionally asks for buyer data, together with utility account numbers, social safety numbers, and dates of beginning.

Utilities give repeated notices previous to service terminations, together with reaching out to clients with past-due balances by cellphone to supply cost choices. Nonetheless, DCP stated utilities don’t specify that the cost should be a pay as you go card or different non-traceable cash switch.

The scammers are requesting cost by way of reward playing cards and cash switch apps, together with PayPal and Zelle, officers stated.

“Scammers use persuasive ways to attempt to get their arms on unsuspecting customers’ cash, earlier than they’ve time to substantiate what scammers are telling them,” stated New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. “Like many others, this newest utility rip-off is prying on susceptible New Yorkers who imagine within the empty threats to close off their utilities.”

To keep away from falling sufferer to those scams, DCP recommends:

  • Cling up and name the utility firm your self. Name the corporate utilizing the quantity in your invoice or the utility firm’s web site even when the one that contacted you left a call-back quantity.
  • Shoppers ought to by no means give out private data similar to account numbers, Social Safety numbers, date of beginning, mom’s maiden names, passwords or different figuring out data in response to sudden calls or if they’re in any respect suspicious.
  • Utility corporations don’t ask for funds by way of reward playing cards or money switch apps. Reward playing cards enable scammers to get cash and not using a hint. Actual utility corporations situation a number of disconnection warnings earlier than shutting off utilities and so they by no means demand cash over the cellphone or specify a technique of cost.
  • Use name blocking instruments out of your cellphone supplier and examine into apps that block calls. The FCC permits cellphone corporations to dam robocalls by default based mostly on cheap analytics.
  • Don’t depend on the quantity that comes up in your cellphone. Callers can “spoof” the quantity to appear to be a authorities company or native utility firm.
  • File a criticism with the Division of Client Safety.

Extra data might be discovered on the Division of Client Safety web site.

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