Police warning of National Grid phone scheme

Callers falsely claim to be from utility company, demand payment

PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) – Some residents of Palmer and other western Massachusetts communities have been receiving phone calls from schemers claiming to represent the utility company National Grid.

Palmer Police Chief John Janulewicz told 22News that the scheme particularly targets elderly people. He says that the fraudsters are made to be more believable because they are able to make it seem like they are calling from a local number- or from other nearby area codes, such as 781 and 617.  However, the chief says in most cases, the calls are actually coming from overseas.

The caller tells residents that they owe money to National Grid, and that they will be cut off if they do not pay.

Janulewicz told 22News that people shouldn’t listen to these calls, and should hang up on them. Unfortunately, he says, they have little ability to track these fraudsters down. He did offer this advice to residents receiving these calls.

“If you really believe it’s a legitimate call from your banking institution, credit car company, utility company, call them back, get the official number, don’t give out any information over the phone,” Janulewicz said.

If you want to prevent yourself from getting such calls in the first place, the chief recommends signing up with a robocall blocking service, such as Nomorobo.