Residents and businesses statewide are being hit by another scam that has recently surfaced. This time around, individuals are contacting victims claiming to be a PSE&G representative who is informing the individual or business that they are behind on their bill.
The representative states to the victim that an electric unit is in route to turn off their service unless the bill is paid in full. The victim is then asked to contact an 800 number to make the payment. A time limit of approximately 30 minutes is usually given to the victim or they are told their power will be shut off. Once the payment is made over the telephone the call is terminated, leaving the victim with a loss.
Anyone receiving this type of call should not engage the person in conversation or provide any payment or personal information on the telephone. A call should immediately be placed directly with PSE&G to confirm the validity of the payment request.
There have been different variations of payment request methods. Some callers have asked the victim to pay using a pre-paid visa debit card or green dot card.
PSEG can be reached via email at PSEG-BAandR@pseg.com or by phone at 1-800-350-PSEG.
Hoboken Police would like to remind residents that anytime someone requests a payment to be made using any type of prepaid debit card, this should immediately raise a red flag about the validity of the call.
Earlier this month, the Acting Attorney General, John J. Hoffman and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs warned consumers of a scam in which con artists, falsely claiming to represent the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, were calling unsuspecting victims and demanding immediate payment of a non-existent debt.
Back in February, Hoboken Police warned residents of an IRS Scam where an unknown individual was allegedly calling house phones and cell phones identifying themselves as a representative of the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and was attempting to collect past due IRS debt by having residents provide personal information to make the payment.
Several individuals also reported being involved in a Front Desk Receptionist Job Scam where an unknown individual was pretending to hire individuals and attempting to have them cash fraudulent checks again their personal accounts.
Consumers are advised to independently verify information in an email, phone call, or letter. Use another source to find a separate phone number for the person or entity that supposedly made the communication, in order to verify whether it was genuine.
Consumers should never send money, give away their personal or financial information, or click on a link or attachment, without first taking the time to make sure the communication they received is valid.
Just as important, consumers should never act without thinking. This is true especially when dealing with a sales pitch or a threat that says “you must act right away.” And even more so if the consumer is told, “keep this confidential and don’t tell anyone about this deal.”
Just as with the Grandparent Scam, con artists try to create a false sense of urgency and a need for secrecy. They know consumers are much more likely to become victims if their emotions are higher – and if they are prevented from discussing the scam with a friend or relative.
Consumers seeking information about fraud prevention can find additional information in the following, free publications on the Division’s website:
- The FedUp Handbook, also available in Spanish
- Consumer Briefs on a variety of consumer protection topics, also available in Spanish
- The Division’s “Cyber Safe NJ” includes important consumer protection information on “The Basics of Cyber Safety,” “Preventing Identity Theft,” and “Controlling Your Privacy.”
- Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of marketplace abuse, can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll-free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.