PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Since the beginning of the new year, there’s been a spike in reports of potential scammers posing as employees of National Grid, according to the attorney general’s office.
Attorney General Peter Neronha said the scammers appear to be targeting residential and business customers by phone. Some will even use texts, email solicitation or even in-person visits.
Neronha said the imposter may claim your utility bill is past due and must be paid immediately or you’ll be cut off instantly.
Since complaints of these attempts are coming in almost daily, Neronha and the utility are warning customers to protect themselves.
“The way to protect yourself is simple. Never give out personal or financial information over the phone, even if the caller tells you they are from a legitimate business — like National Grid,” Neronha said.
National Grid, in turn, said it’s a top priority to keep their customers from getting cheated by scams.
“We’ll continue to work with [the attorney general’s] office and the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers to help curtail them in any way we can,” Terry Sobolewski, the president of National Grid Rhode Island said.
If you get a phone caller claiming to be from National Grid, that you suspect is a scam, Neronha said to call the toll-free number listed on your utility billing statement.
- Ask National Grid representatives to confirm the last five digits of your account number and do not offer it to them since they should have it readily available.
- National Grid may ask for a payment over the phone but will leave the customer to choose how to pay. The utility will never ask customers to pay immediately by wire transfer or by going to a stare and buying prepaid debit cards.
- Never offer personal or financial information to someone you can’t identify.
- If someone comes to your door claiming to work for National Grid, they should show an ID badge. Contractors are also required to carry ID.
- If someone asks to come in and doesn’t show an ID, do not let them in and call the police.
National Grid said any customer with questions can call their customer service center at 1-800-322-3223.