prepared by NJ Consumer Affairs
Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G) is alerting its customers about a nationwide
phony bill payment program that promises to credit or pay utility bills in
exchange for personal information, including victims’ social security numbers,
In addition, some consumers who became aware of
the phony bank account number have in turn passed this number to friends and
family via text and social media. Since this message comes from a friend or
family member, and doesn't include the request for a social security number used
in the original scam, even more consumers are trying to pay their bills with
the phony bank account number.
The scam has been reported in a number of states. The scammers are using phone
calls, texts, emails, and social media to reach consumers with the false claim
that the President of the United States is helping consumers pay their utility
Here is a description of the scam:
· Someone calls a utility customer and tells them the Federal government has a
program to pay utility bills on a one-time basis.
· Customers are asked to provide their social security numbers in order to
apply for the program.
· The scammers then give customers a phone federal reserve bank routing number
to receive the payment.
Some PSE&G customers attempted to enter the fake routing number, then
called the company to verify that the government made the payment on their
PSE&G is warning customers that this is a scam; payments are not being
made; and their unpaid balances are still due.
The utility company also noted, “If you are contacted by someone purporting to
be from PSEG requesting your social security number, username or password, do
not provide it. And don’t click on any links accompanying the communication or
respond in any manner.”
More information about this scam can be found at PSE&G’s website, http://www.pseg.com/info/media/newsreleases/2012/2012-05-25.jsp. The company urges consumers to report any calls
resembling the scam to PSEG-BAandR@pseg.com.
Customers who have doubts about the legitimacy of any call from PSE&G,
especially one in which payment is requested, should call the utility directly
Any consumer who receives a phone call, text message, email, or social
networking message that resembles this scam, and anyone who has fallen victim
to this scam, is urged to call the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs at
1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey ) or 973-504-6200, or by visiting
its website ( http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/index.htm ).