Brooklyn Boro

Beware of scammers posing as Con Ed workers, pol warns

March 27, 2020 Paula Katinas
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State Sen. Diane Savino has issued a warning to her constituents to be on the alert for crooks posing as Con Edison or National Grid workers pretending to read meters or collect outstanding bills during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Please do not respond to phone scams alleging they represent the utilities,” Savino wrote in an email to constituents.

Savino, a Democrat representing Coney Island and parts of Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge, said she took part in a conference call earlier this week with officials from Con Ed and National Grid to review the policies the two utilities have put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Many scammers are trying to take advantage of frightened people,” she wrote.

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Customers should be aware that the utilities have temporarily suspended checking gas and electric meters due to the coronavirus.

“They are not checking meters at this time,” she said. “If you have any concerns, you can always call the companies directly. And remember, never give the potential scammers who call directly your personal information, including your account numbers.”

A notice on Con Ed’s website confirms that the company is not checking meters at the present time.

Con Ed also announced that due to the coronavirus crisis, it will not be turning off electricity to any customers for non-payment of bills.

On its website, National Grid warns that “scams related to the COVID-19 outbreak are on the rise.”

Crooks claiming to be National Grid workers may contact customers “to collect past due balances” and make promises “of saving on your next bill or threatening to disconnect your service,” a statement on the website reads.

National Grid representatives who call a customer are already aware of the customer’s account number, so if the person on the phone asks for the account number, it should raise suspicions.

Savino also suggested that people who find themselves out of work due to the coronavirus and who normally pay their monthly utility bills via direct payment contact Con Ed or National Grid to avoid late fees or overdraft charges.

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