.

Port Chester Woman Loses $200 in Con Ed Bill Scam

Called threatened her utilities would be shut off without immediate payment.

A Port Chester woman has lost $200 to a scam artist who threatened that her service would be cut off unless she immediately sent him a payment using a pre-paid credit card.

Port Chester police said they confirmed the man who called the 30-year-old village residents was not connected with Con Ed, and warned residents to be on alert for this scam — one in a that have targed Port Chester residents.

The Port Chester woman affected by the said she recived a call on Monday from a person claiming to work for Consolidated Edison, telling her that she owed $199.98 and had to pay immediately or face the loss of her electric service. The caller, police said, seemed convincing because he had the woman's account number.

When the woman offered to pay the bill over the telephone using a credit card, police said the con man convinced the woman that she could only pay over the phone by using a pre-paid credit card. The woman went to a nearby store, purchased the card and then called the number she was given to make a payment.

On Tuesday, the woman called Con Ed to make sure the payment had been recorded for her account. However, the utility informed the woman that she had been the victim of a fraud.

Port Chester Police Lt. James Ladeairous said his department called the number that was originally given to the fraud victim, and the line was answered by a person who claimed to work at a walk-in utility bill payment center in Manhattan. Ladeairous said Con Ed was notified of the scam, with the utility telling police that the information would go to the company's fraud investigations staff.

Utility scams are not new. Here is advise from Con Ed:

Con Edison urges customers to never provide a Social Security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it unless you initiated the contact and know the identity of the person you are speaking with.

If you receive a call from someone you do not trust and who is urging you to make a payment to Con Edison, hang up and check the legitimacy of the call by dialing 1-800-75-CONED  (1-800-752-6633).

Con Edison's website, www.conEd.com offers a variety of approved and convenient options for bill payment.

In addition, Con Edison warns customers not to fall for a scam in which a caller says the customer must make a payment by purchasing a Green Dot Money Pak to avoid having utility service turned off.

These callers are not from Con Edison and Con Edison does not authorize payments of electric or gas bills by pre-paid debit cards such as the Green Dot Money Pak. While many retail stores accept the Green Dot Money Pak for payment, Con Edison does not.

The company has received reports from hundreds of customers who were contacted by the scammers. The scammer tells the customer the company will turn off service unless the customer makes a bill payment by purchasing a Green Dot pre-paid card.

The scammers sometimes even tell the customer about a store near the customer's home that sells Green Dot cards. The scammer instructs the customer to pay cash to put money on the card and to then provide the number on the card to the person who called.

Once the customer provides the Green Dot card number, the scammer steals the money on the card by transferring the money to a pre-paid card and cashing that card at an automated-teller machine.

Also, feel free to ask or check for identification before allowing anyone into your home or business. If you feel the person at your door may be an imposter, you can call 1-800-75CONED (1-800-752-6633) to check.

The utility also suggests that if you have a concern that you may have been targeted for fraud that you call your local police.

Here's another recent scam involving utility bills:

Con Edison is warning its customers about a scam in which someone seeks to steal their identity by telling them President Obama has set aside money to cover utility bills.

Here’s how it works: A scammer contacts a customer by phone, text message or other means and says President Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills. The scammer asks the customer for their Social Security number and Con Edison account information.

The scammer then provides the customer with the number of an out-of-state bank account and the routing number and instructs the customer to use that information to make a bill payment to Con Edison.

But the bank account is phony and the customer receives a notification from Con Edison that the payment was not received. Though the customer has not lost money, the customer has given up valuable personal information that a scammer can use to steal from that customer.

 

George Datino August 23, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Whenever I get calls from people claiming to be from places I have accounts (Credit Card, Bank, etc.) or get an email telling of a problem (I have been getting a lot of them lately and they look authentic and usually tell you to click on an embedded link), I don't do anything until I contact the company using either the company phone number (i.e. Credit Card company phone number on the back of my card) or the company website that I normally use. Most of the time there wasn't a problem and if there is, I now know I am dealing with the right people and they can help me.
William Demarest (Editor) August 23, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Good advice .... that's what police suggest .... If you have any doubt, use the information provided on your utility bill or the company's official web site to call and confirm an immediate demand for payment, especially if the demand requires payment with a non-traditional method.
ANDREA August 23, 2012 at 03:59 PM
CON EDISON IS A SCAM RIGHT NOW I BEEN GOING BACK AND FORTH RE:OTHER CHARGES FROM OTHER CARRY THAT'S WITH CON EDISON IT HAS TO BE A INSIDE JOB JUST DONT SAY YES TO AMBIT ENERGY - AGWAY ENERGY -JUST ENERGY /ESCO THE ALSO ARE A BIG SCAM I AM IN THE WHOLE $2500.00
ANDREA August 23, 2012 at 05:42 PM
HOW SAD IS IT THAT THEY SCAM AMERICAN SHAM SHAM ON CON EDISON AND AMBIT ENERGY -AGWAY ENERGY-JUST ENERGY ESCO
eatingdogfood August 23, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Hard to believe people fall for stuff like this.
William Demarest (Editor) August 23, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Indeed ... hard to believe, but it's happening in communities all over Westchester and nearby in Rockland County.... and even in Greenwich. Good folks are victimized, often by people taking advantage of their good nature. Tell your friends and family: If you get a call or e-mail demanding money or promising riches, don't take it at face value. Check it out! Don't be afraid to ask a friend, family member or the police for help.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something