Orange & Rockland issued a warning to the public about a phony bill payment scheme involving people, who call customers and claim to be utility company representatives. The scammers contact customers and demand immediate payments for what they fraudulently claim are past due electric and gas bills.
Utility customers in O&R’s Rockland service territory and others across the country have been fooled by these false claims.
O&R explained how the widespread scam works:
A Spanish or English-speaking person claiming to be a utility company employee calls customers and tells them their service will be disconnected if they do not make a same day payment using a prepaid debit card. In some instances the call is pre-recorded.
Customers are told to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak at a pharmacy or convenience store and to use cash to put money onto the card. They are told to provide the number on the card to the person who called them. They are warned that if they do not call back quickly with the information, their service will be turned off that day.
In most cases the fake utility employee steals the customer’s money by transferring the funds from the MoneyPak to a prepaid card and cashing it at an ATM.
O&R urges anyone who receives this type of call to contact customer service at 1-877-434-4100. Customers are advised to hang up the phone if they suspect the person calling them is not a legitimate employee. They can get confirmation of actual employees by calling O&R at 1-877-434-4100. O&R employees are trained to cooperate with this request and prepared to comply with an identity verification request.