(Newark, N.J. – Oct. 16, 2017) Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G), New Jersey’s largest utility, urges customers to be alert to payment scams. In the most common scam, phony callers lie and say there is an unpaid balance and demand immediate payment with a prepaid card. Recently the utility has received reports that scammers are using fake caller ID information to trick customers into thinking they are speaking with PSE&G.

“Just because the caller ID says it’s PSE&G, doesn’t mean it’s PSE&G,” said Greg Dunlap, PSE&G vice president of customer operations. “When in doubt, hang up and call the number listed on your bill or our website.”

Here’s how one common scam works.

  • Someone pretending to be a utility representative calls, says there is an unpaid balance on the account and threatens to shut off service if they do not receive immediate payment with a prepaid credit card.
  • Victims are given a phony phone number to call back after they purchase the cards from a retail store.
  • When they call that number, they may hear voice response prompts that imitate the real PSE&G customer service line. Some of these criminals use caller ID spoofing technology to replicate PSE&G’s number.
  • When a fake representative answers the line, they ask for the numbers on the prepaid card or receipt. Scammers then take the money from the card – usually in a matter of minutes.

The only way to protect against scams is for customers to be cautious. Before terminating service, PSE&G alerts customers in a number of ways: messages on their bill, letters and phone calls. While the utility accepts credit cards, prepaid cards and money transfers to pay bills, PSE&G would never demand a specific type of payment or threaten immediate service termination.

Report all scam attempts by calling your utility and local police department and file a complaint with the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint.