Montclair Township wants residents to know that Public Service Electric & Gas has altered its customers to a scam involving prepaid debt cards.
The scam involves individuals misrepresenting themselves as PSE&G employees and threatening to turn off electric and gas service if payment is not made to them that day, according to the company.
The scam is being reported across the country and seems to be targeting Hispanic neighborhoods.
Here is how the scam works: Spanish-speaking individual pretending to be a PSE&G employee will call a customer saying they work for the company’s “disconnect collection department,” the company said in a press release.
The person tells the customer that they have an overdue balance and their service will be shut off that day unless they pay their balance using a prepaid debit card.
Customers are told to purchase a Green Dot Money Pak card and put a balance on it and provide the cashier with the phone number of the person who called them.
After the customer provides PSE&G with the card number, the scammer transfers the funds to a prepaid card and cashes it in at an ATM.
PSE&G reported a similar scam in January 2012.
What to do if you get a call
When PSE&G makes an outbound phone call to customers, customer-specific information is shared with the customer. That information includes the account name, address, number and current balance.
If customers do not receive this correct information, they likely are not speaking with a PSE&G representative.
If customers feel uncomfortable and they know they have an outstanding balance that needs to be resolved, they should hang up and call PSE&G directly at 1-800-436-7734 or visit a local PSE&G Customer Service Center.
Service Centers are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with locations listed on customer bills and online at http://www.pseg.com/centers.
Any customer who has doubts about the legitimacy of any call from PSE&G, especially one in which payment is requested, should call the utility directly.