Beware of schemers threatening power shut-offs

Some fraudsters demand you pay using prepaid debit card

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Some western Massachusetts residents have received phone calls threatening to shut off their power, but these telephone calls are not credible.

Police and utility companies have seen an increasing number of phone schemes in the area targeting residents and businesses.  The callers impersonate utility company employees, and try to gain access to account information and sometimes entry into people’s homes.  The schemers will threaten immediate service shut-off if you do not comply within one or two hours.  Even if you have made a payment recently, they will say it hasn’t been made.

By law, utility companies can not shut off your heat or anything that powers your heating system between November 15 and March 15. But police say the threat to having power cut during this cold weather has many people double checking.

One woman told 22News that there is no need to panic, and you should always double check with your utility company.

“They’re calling and telling you ‘you have to pay right now.’  You will tell them please you go ahead and shut it, but I’ll just take it up with the power company,” Mary Kiriba of Springfield said.

In many cases, the schemers will demand customers get a pre-paid debit card give access to the account number.  Western Massachusetts Electric Company does not require customers pay with a prepaid card, and National Grid does not accept prepaid cards as a form of payment.

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