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Bethlehem Police and Bethlehem Senior Services are warning town residents about an on-going scam involving phone calls from people claiming to be National Grid. The callers are attempting to get money by claiming the individual has unpaid bills. Attached is a notice from National Grid that clearly outlines their true collection practices, including that they will never demand direct payment through prepaid debit cards and never accept payment through these cards. Town residents who feel they have received these calls are asked to contact Bethlehem Police at 518-439-9973.
The following is an excerpt from the National Grid notice:
Reported utility billing and payment scams are resurfacing once again in Upstate New York. And National Grid is warning its customers to beware and know the signs of a scam.
Customers who reported the scams say they were contacted by telephone by individuals who claim to be from National Grid and who advised the customers they have a past due balance on their utility bill.
The scammers warn that service will be shut off immediately unless the customer purchases a prepaid debit card in a specific amount, such as Green Dot card, and provides the caller with the card’s account number, or in the case of business customers, by way of a Western Union money transfer. This is a huge warning sign.
The scenario can change, but the goal of the scammer remains the same: scare customers into making hasty, often large payments.
National Grid does contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options, but never demands direct payment through the use of a prepaid debit card and never accepts payment through these cards.