PSE&G and the Morristown Department of Public Safety are urging Morristown residents to be on the lookout for utility scams this winter as an increase in fake PSE&G calls rope in more victims of scamming. Scammers target residents by calling their cell phones, often showing up on the caller ID as PSE&G, and demanding immediate payment while threatening to shut off residents' utilities immediately. The Morristown Department of Public Safety recommends that you hang up immediately and call your utility provider if unsure about the status of your bill. The phone number for your provider can be found on your bill or on the provider's website. Scammers will try to pressure the target into making a payment by convincing them they work for the utility company. These scammers often ask for immediate payment via credit card or money transfer in order to prevent the shut-off of utilities. These scammers may also call offering a discount on your bill due to good payment history and ask for personal payment information prior to the "discount."
Scammers are not always easy to spot. Often the caller will show up on your caller ID as PSE&G or your relevant utility company. They will threaten to shut off your utilities immediately and demand payment by way of cash, prepaid card, or money transfer app. Some residents have reported a scam where fake PSE&G representatives have called informing residents that they require a new meter and ask for a deposit prior to installation. Sometimes the target of the scam may be given a phone number to call back, and when called the target will hear an automated call system similar to that of PSE&Gs.
It is important to know that PSE&G does not require a deposit for new meter installations. The utility company also never requires payment with a prepaid card and does not offer bill discounts. PSE&G does not accept payment via gift cards, money transfer apps, or cryptocurrency.
When a real PSE&G representative calls, they will ask to speak to the account owner. If the account owner is not available the representative will explain the reason for the call and provide the name, address, and current balance and ask that a message be taken for the account owner. PSE&G will not discuss payment or personal account details over the phone with anyone other than the account owner. The representative will leave a message and ask that the account owner call back at 1-800-436-PSEG (7734).
The pandemic has created an ideal opportunity for scammers who rely on shock, threats, and confusion to collect victims. Watch out for calls from apparent PSE&G representatives or other utility companies that note urgent problems with your bill or utilities that create panic. PSE&G reminds all its customers that it is not shutting off residential customers' utilities for non-payment. A PSE&G representative will work with customers who are having trouble paying to create a payment plan that works for the individual.
Have you been a victim of a utility scam? Let us know in the comments below.