National Grid Warns Customers to Guard Themselves & Sensitive Account Information

January 12, 2015

Filed under: Elder Abuse,Financial — Alexis @ 10:13 AM

Apparently scammers are getting better at their craft – received this from my local police department:

During this holiday season National Grid and local police departments received an increasing number of calls from customers being targeted by billing scam artists and impersonators trying to gain access to account information and entry to National Grid customers’ homes. The bill scams mirror reports received by utility companies throughout the country where the scammers are demanding immediate payment for electricity and natural gas bill balances and threatening immediate service shutoff if payments are not received within an hour or two. If the customer has made a payment, the caller will say that the payment has not been received and an immediate payment must be made. For the most part the scammers are demanding that the customer secure a pre-paid debit card and provide the account number to the scammer who then redeems the card.
National Grid does contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options. Direct payment is an option but direct payment is never demanded as a prerequisite for continued service. If customers wish, they can arrange for a payment by check, credit card or debit card if they speak directly to a customer service representative. Payment can also be made by credit card or debit card without a representative’s assistance. National Grid does not accept pre-paid debit cards for payment and would never ask a customer to acquire one of these cards to make a bill payment.
The callers have shown to be adept at extracting account information from unsuspecting customers and they use sophisticated telephone technology to convince customers they are actually calling from National Grid.
Ask Questions/Demand Proper ID
In addition to the on-going fraudulent bill collection calls, there have been recurring reports of individuals going door-to-door, identifying themselves as employees of National Grid and demanding to see the customer’s electricity or natural gas bills. In other instances, people claiming to be a utility company employee have been able to gain entry to a home by telling the customer they must inspect their meter, which is usually located in the customer’s basement. When the customer accompanies the impersonator into the basement, an accomplice enters the home and removes items of value without the customer knowing it.

National Grid Billing Scam

May 22, 2014

Filed under: Elder Abuse,Financial — Alexis @ 10:48 AM

I recently received an email from Norwell Police Chief Ted Ross warning South Shore residents about a utility billing scam. Fraudulent callers are targeting National Grid customers throughout New England. The scammers are demanding payment of alleged electric bill balances (that customers may not even owe) and are threatening to shut off their electricity immediately unless given checking account or credit card information.

What should you do if this happens to you? Ask the caller for the last five digits of your National Grid account number. Inevitably, they won’t have it and you can hang up and rest assured the caller is a scammer. DO NOT give out your banking or credit card information. If you want to verify your account billing status, the telephone number for the National Grid Customer Contact Center is 1-800-322-3223.

Criminals can easily obtain false names for caller identification purposes and attempt to pose as legitimate businesses over the phone. So remember, the best practice is to NEVER give out your banking, credit card, or personal information (such as your date of birth or Social Security number) over the telephone unless YOU initiated the call and are certain of the merchant’s identity. Additional resources on scams and identity theft from the Attorney General’s office can be found here.

If It Sounds Too Good to be True…

July 9, 2009

Filed under: Elder Abuse — Tags: , — Alexis @ 9:50 PM

Right in our own backyard, another financial planner has been charged with scamming seniors. His pitch was that his investments would allegedly earn guaranteed 12% returns – not bad – and not likely. Further, he allegedly implied that these investments were safe; Bill Galvin’s office says they were patently risky. Regardless of how these charges turn out, the lessons remain  – be very wary of whom you invest your money with, research it well before writing a check, and most importantly, if it sounds too good to be true, ….