ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A new phone call scam is populating throughout New York State.
The calls involve scammers posing as the Public Safety Commission, claiming a resident’s utilities are at risk of being shut off — unless the customer makes an immediate payment over the phone.
According to the New York State Public Service Commission, the scammers can also claim a utility consumer was overcharged by their local utility. If the consumer gives the scammer their credit card or bank account number, they will be able to be reimbursed for the mentioned overcharge.
The PSC urges anyone who receives this kind of call, to contact their new utility if they believe there is any question or confusion regarding their services.
They also remind customers that utility services will send multiple notices prior to the shut off of service and do offer customers with past due balances alternate payment options.
Utility services also do not specify that payment methods must be via a non-traceable method, such as a prepaid card or a non-traceable money transfer. The PSC emphasizes to customers that if a caller is demanding payment that is different than how you have previously paid your utility bills, to simply hang up.
Here are some tips consumers should follow to avoid falling for these scams, as provided by the PSC:
- Hang up and call the utility yourself
- Consumers should never give out personal information
- Utility companies do not ask for payments via gift cards or cash transfer apps
- Use call blocking tools from your phone provider and check into apps that block calls
- Do not rely on the number that comes up on your phone
- File a complaint with the Public Safety Commission