Scammers Think It's Better to Take Than Receive at Holiday Time
Scammers are turning out to be this holiday season’s Grinch for Con Edison customers.
The company reports a significant increase in customers being targeted by impostors claiming to be from Con Edison and demanding immediate payment of a bill. The scammers tell customers their power will be shut off if they do not make the payment.
(Hear a podcast on avoiding scams.)
Since Thanksgiving, at least 25 commercial customers have reported giving money to scammers. In total, they have lost about $30,000.
“The scammers are calculating and cunning,” said James Duggan, a section manager in Con Edison’s Corporate Security department. “They know the holidays are a time when our commercial customers can least afford to have their power shut off and lose business. We want our customers to know they should be absolutely sure they’re talking to a Con Edison representative before agreeing to make a payment.”
Scammers are also keeping up their efforts to steal from residential customers.
Scammers call customers on the phone and show up at homes and businesses. A common trick is to tell a customer the way to make a quick payment is to buy a pre-paid card.
Once the customer puts money on the pre-paid card and provides the scammer with the card number, the scammer steals the money. These individuals are not from Con Edison and Con Edison does not accept payments by pre-paid debit cards, by MoneyGram or similar transfers.
With MoneyGram, scammers may ask a customer to provide money from a bank account, credit card or debit card by going online or to a specified location. The money goes into someone else’s bank account or is available for the receiver to pick up in cash.
Never arrange payment or divulge account or personal information, including debit or credit card information, unless you are certain you are speaking to Con Edison. If you are unsure whether the person is from Con Edison, call 1-800-75-CONED to check.
Impostors who show up in person try to get the customer to hand over money or try to get inside the house by saying they need to do work. In some instances, impostors have gotten inside homes and committed assaults or stolen valuables.
If someone comes to your home or business claiming to be from Con Edison, ask for identification. If you are still unsure, call 1-800-75-CONED or the police.
Learn more on avoiding scams. Con Edison's website offers approved options for bill payment. Learn more about Utilities United Against Scams, a group of more than 100 companies that try to educate customers about scams, at UtilitiesUnited.org.
Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation's largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $12 billion in annual revenues and $49 billion in assets. The utility provides electric, gas and steam service to more than three million customers in New York City and Westchester County, New York.
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