PSE&G is alerting its customers about a nationwide phony bill payment program that promises to credit or pay utility bills in exchange for personal information, including social security numbers.
The scam, which has been reported in a number of states, claims that President Barack Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills.
This is how the scam works: Someone calls a utility customer and tells them that the federal government has a program to pay utility bills on a one-time basis. Customers are asked to provide their social security numbers to apply for the program. The scammers then give customers a phony federal reserve bank number. Customers are told to enter the phony bank number to pay their utility bills online or receive a credit.
While it initially appears that the customer’s bill has been paid or a credit has applied, no government funds are applied to the customer’s account, and the account balance remains due. Some PSE&G customers have reported that they entered the false information, and then called the company to verify that the payment was made by the government on their behalf.
According to reports, the scammers are also emailing, texting and using social media to reach customers.
PSE&G says customers should know that account information is protected and that no one should be contacting customers requesting social security numbers, usernames or passwords.
When PSE&G makes an outbound phone call to customers, either automated or manually, the caller ID will identify the call as coming from PSE&G. The PSE&G representative will ask appropriate security questions and provide predetermined information to confirm customer identity. If customers do not receive these pieces of information, they likely are not speaking with a PSE&G representative, the company warned.
If you receive a phone call, email or other communication claiming to be from PSE&G requesting your social security number, username or password, do not provide it, click on any links, or respond in any manner. Send an email to PSE&G’s security department at PSEG-BAandR@pseg.com.
If you believe you are a victim of this scam, notify local police and report the incident to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs at (800) 242-5846 or (973) 504-6200.