LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Police are warning residents of the Capital District of a National Grid phone scam that has reappeared in the area.
The phone scam was last in the area back in February of this year in the Fulton County area and now seems to be clustered in and around the Saratoga County area.
Troopers have been notified of and received complaints from citizens who received phone calls from someone claiming to be a representative of National Grid.
The callers use various scare tactics to deceive individuals into making immediate payment of their bill or disconnection of power will occur within the hour. The bogus callers have referred to non-existent customer service numbers, utilized official sounding recordings, fake extensions, and fake confirmation numbers and receipts.
Victims have been asked to wire transfer a specified amount of money that was supposedly overdue to different accounts from different locations and to then mail the receipts of those Money Grams to a PO Box address in New Jersey. Often the bogus National Grid caller will call the victim back each time a transaction has been completed claiming there was an issue with the transaction and to try a new location.
In one recent case a victim wired over $2,400 on three separate occasions from two different locations and mailed the transaction receipts to the PO Box provided during the phone calls.
Here are some National Grid tips from their website to protect you from these types of scams:
National Grid urges customers to be cautious when speaking with callers and offers helpful tips on how to protect you from these scams:
- National Grid will know your account number. Never offer account information to a caller
- Ask the caller to provide the last five digits of your National Grid account number. If the caller doesn’t know your account number and fishes for help, take charge and hang up immediately
- National Grid may ask for a payment over the phone, but will leave the method of payment to the customer
- National Grid will not contact you demanding immediate payment by wire transfer, Green Dot Money-Pak or any other pre-paid card service
- Never — under any circumstances — should you ever offer personal or financial information to someone who you cannot identify
- Be suspicious of callers who you cannot identify. Hang up and call them back if you are uncertain