Today is Utility Scam Awareness Day, and New Jersey American Water is arming customers with information to protect themselves from common utility scams. According to the Better Business Bureau, impersonation is a very common tactic used by scammers. Whether it be a suspicious individual knocking on the door, or a phone call from an unfamiliar number, it is important to remain calm and ask questions.
“Safety is at the forefront of everything we do at New Jersey American Water,” said Kym Dunn, Manager of Health and Safety, New Jersey American Water. “With the holiday season approaching quickly, we know this is a busy time of year, and our customers have a lot on their minds. Unfortunately, this can make them more vulnerable to utility scams, so it is important to stay alert and speak up if something doesn’t seem quite right.”
Utility company imposters typically attempt to scam individuals by one of two ways: they may pose as a utility worker in an attempt to gain access to an individual’s home, or they may call or send another type of urgent communication asking for immediate payment to avoid termination of services. New Jersey American Water encourages customers to be mindful in these situations and take the following tips into consideration when approached by someone who claims they are a utility worker:
- Always verify. When in doubt about an incoming phone call or email, stop the communication and contact the utility company through its customer service number to verify that the outreach was genuine.
- Be skeptical. Whether it’s a phone call, text message, email, or person standing at your door, continue to ask probing questions and safeguard your information. Don’t provide any information, whether financial or personal, until you verify who you are talking to.
- Remain calm. Scammers feed off panic. If you are worried, hang up the phone or close and lock your door, and call your utility company to verify.
- Never give cash. Our employees and contractors never collect money or credit card information from customers in the field.
New Jersey American Water also wants to remind customers that it is working with qualified contractors in a number of communities to identify and replace customers’ lead and galvanized steel service lines. Contractors will carry official company photo I.D. badges and wear logoed, high-visibility vests. To learn more about New Jersey American Water’s lead service line replacement program, visit newjerseyamwater.com/leadfacts.
“We want to help protect our customers against fraud and scams,” said Dunn. “By providing these tips, we hope to not only help customers avoid scammers, but also bolster their sense of security throughout the holiday season.”
For more information about utility and other scams, or to report a scam, visit the Better Business Bureau’s website.