Utility workers visit customers’ homes or businesses for various reasons. While scheduled appointments are most often the reason for a visit, there are times when PSE&G employees will visit your house or business without a pre-scheduled appointment. It is important that you understand how to recognize a PSE&G employee and protect yourself from possible scam activity.
Imposter scams were the most common type of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission in 2020 (FTC). The two common types of imposter scams that target utility customers are the fake representative phone calls by “your utility company” and the more daring in-person product scam. We’ve learned recently of scammers appearing at New Jersey doors claiming they are from the state, asking to see utility bills and then asking homeowners to fill out forms, which require personal information, to get refunds – yet this is a scam.
Scammers are becoming more sophisticated and aggressive in their methods to confuse customers. Often times, the tactics force you to act quickly based on emotion to get your personal information.
PSE&G would never threaten shutoff, nor do we accept payments through prepaid debit cards, wire transfer, payment apps or cryptocurrency. PSE&G offers a variety of payment options and would never require one specific type of payment. If a representative exhibits impatience, annoyance, or anger, these are signs of a scam.
How to identify a PSE&G employee in your neighborhood
Typically, any employee working in your neighborhood will be in a vehicle that displays the PSE&G logo. In some cases, meter readers and contractors may drive their personal cars.
All employees are required to wear company issued identification cards around their neck or on their belt, as well as the proper personal protective equipment. They should introduce themselves as a way to establish their identity. If you feel uneasy in a situation, ask them to wait outside and call the number on your bill to verify if someone from PSE&G is in your area.
What PSE&G will and will not discuss over the phone:
- A PSE&G representative will ask to speak to the account owner.
- If that person is available, the representative will explain why they are calling and provide the account name, address and current balance.
- If the account owner is not available, the PSE&G representative will not discuss the account at all and ask that individual to tell the account owner to call 1-800-436-PSEG (7734).
Ways to protect yourself:
- Do not assume every name and number on your caller ID is legitimate. Caller IDs can be hacked with new technologies.
- Do not click links or call numbers in unexpected emails or texts – especially those asking for your account information.
- PSE&G will never require their customers to use prepaid debit cards or direct money transfers to avoid an immediate disconnection.
- If you suspect you are being targeted by scam activity, safely remove yourself from the situation (hang up, close the door, etc.) then report the incident to PSE&G and file a report with your local police department.
Why a PSE&G employee or Contractor might show up “unexpectedly”:
There are several situations when a PSE&G employee or contractor may show up unexpectedly, including to:
- Read meters.
- Investigate a suspicious odor or gas leak.
- Complete field inspections of infrastructure.
- Attend to a customer’s high bill complaint.
- Respond to emergencies to shutoff power for first responders.