News & Press Releases

PSE&G SCAM

PSE&G is alerting its customers not to be defrauded by a scam in which individuals misrepresenting themselves as PSE&G employees threaten to turn off electric and gas service if payment is not made to them that day.

The scam, which has been reported across the country, involves payments using Green Dot MoneyPaks and seems to be targeting Hispanic neighborhoods in PSE&G’s service territory. As noted on the MoneyPak packaging and on the company’s Web site (www.moneypak.com), to protect themselves from fraud, consumers should treat the MoneyPak like cash and only use the MoneyPak number with businesses on their approved partner list.

How the Scam works:

  • A Spanish- or English-speaking individual pretending to be a PSE&G employee calls customers saying their service would be disconnected if they do not make a payment using a prepaid debit card. In some cases, the call is prerecorded.
  • Customers are told to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak at a pharmacy or convenience store, use cash to put money onto the card, and then provide the number on the card to the person who called them.
  • Customers are advised that if they do not immediately call back and provide the MoneyPak information, their service will be turned off that day.
  • Typically, after the customer provides that MoneyPak number, the scammer transfers the funds to a prepaid card, and cashes it in at an ATM.

How to Prevent the Scam:

  • Know the direct telephone number and address of your local PSE&G Customer Service Center.
  • Know that when PSE&G makes an outbound telephone call to customers, customer-specific information is shared with the customer. That information includes account name, address, number and current balance.
  • If customers do not receive this correct information, they likely are not speaking with a bonafide PSE&G representative.

What to do if you receive such a call:

  • Try to verify the validity of the number the scammer is calling from and record the number of the scammer.
  • Try to verify the authenticity of the caller of the scam.
  • Disconnect the call immediately after attempting to verify this information.
  • Immediately check your recent PSE&G bill and find out when it was last paid.
  • If you cannot determine when your last PSE&G bill was paid, contact PSE&G directly at 1.800.436.7734 or visit a local PSE&G Customer Service Center. Service Centers are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM with locations listed on customer bills and on-line at: http://www/pseg.com/centers.
  • Subsequent to this, notify us at 201-41-6400

Lottery Fraud: If You Have To Pay, You Didn’t Win

 The following post is from the US Justice Department Consumer Protection Branch of the Civil Division.

The pitch is simple.  You receive a call from a foreign lottery announcing that you have won money, a car and other prizes.  The caller tells you that you entered a contest: a form you submitted in the mail, or on the Internet, or while shopping.  You have won, but you must pay taxes, insurance and other up-front fees in order to get your prize into the United States.  Despite several payments totaling thousands of dollars, you never receive the prizes promised to you.

According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Americans have lost $42 million to fraudulent foreign lotteries and sweepstakes.  The majority of victims are elderly.  In addition to losing their life savings, victims are duped into giving fraudsters their Social Security numbers and financial accounts.  Fraudsters convince victims to send money quickly, and they warn victims not to discuss their winnings with family, friends or professional advisors.

The Department of Justice Consumer Protection Branch is working with its investigative partners to prosecute lottery fraudsters.  This effort has identified common signs of lottery fraud that you can use to protect yourself and loved ones.

  • You should not have to pay fees or taxes in advance to receive lottery or sweepstakes winnings.  Beware of checks or wire transfers sent to you by the lottery.  The fraudsters will tell you to cash these payments and forward the money, but after you have sent this money, the payment you originally received will bounce.
  • Lottery fraudsters use technology to mask their telephone number.  Your caller-ID may identify a call as coming from the United States that is actually coming from a foreign country.
  • Lottery fraudsters impersonate officials from federal agencies in order to convince victims that the scam is legitimate.  The United States government does not participate in the distribution of prize money from lotteries and sweepstakes. 
  • You should never give your Social Security number, bank account number or any other personal identifying information to these callers.  Fraudsters promise to use this information to pay the “fees” for your prize, or they offer to pay off your debts.  In reality, they use this information to steal your identity and your money.
  • Lottery fraudsters are particularly successful with victims who live alone or suffer cognitive impairment.  Fraudsters befriend victims to create trust and to convince victims to hide the payments from family members.    

Additional information on this scam is provided by the U.S. Postal Inspection service at www.deliveringtrust.com, and by the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/phonefraud/sweepstakes.shtml.

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