Nationwide scam alert

National Grid has issued a nationwide warning about a new scam claiming that President Obama will pay your utility bills through a new federal program.
This is an identity theft scam and it is being reported nationwide. It involves different types of utility bills including electric, water, telephone and natural gas. National Grid urges you to NEVER give out your social security number or bank account number to anyone who contacts you, regarless of whom they say they are. If you have questions, please contact National Grid.

How the scam works

  • The scam starts with the claim that President Obama will pay customers’ utility bills through a new federal program.
  • The information received by National Grid indicates that the scam’s perpetrators attempt to make contact through a variety of means: door-to-door solicitations, telephone calls, mailed or hand-delivered fliers, and through social media sites such as Facebook.
  • Customers are allegedly asked to provide personal information, including Social Security or bank account numbers, to participate in the bogus bill-payment program. In return, consumers are given a fake bank routing number that they erroneously believe will pay their utility bills.
  • There is no new federal program to pay utility bills that will request Social Security or bank account information. The scammers allegedly use the customers' personal information to steal their identity or empty their bank accounts.
  • National Grid urges anyone who may be contacted about such a fraudulent program to immediately break off contact and call the police.

Tips to avoid becoming a victim of this scam

  • Never provide your social security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting to anyone who calls you, regardless of whom they claim to be representing.
  • If you receive a call claiming to be National Grid and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and contact National Grid.
  • Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification.
  • Always think safety first. Do not give in to high pressure tactics over the phone for information or in person to get into your home.
National Grid advises: Never provide your Social Security number, credit card number or bank information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident that the transaction is legitimate.
If you are contacted by individuals who say they represent National Grid and you wish to verify their identity, either ask for their photo ID card (if in person) or ask for their employee number. Then contact National Grid to verify their identity and the nature of their business with you. Our employees are happy to comply with an identity verification request.
Remember, if something like this scam sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true.
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