In the middle of snow season and weekly power outage concerns, National Grid wants you to be aware of a new danger regarding your utilities: a scam to take your money.
"In the past several days National Grid electric customers have received telephone calls from individuals claiming to work for National Grid," reads a statement by National Grid. "These scammers demand payment, through a pre-paid card, on past due balances for electric accounts and threaten customers that their service will immediately be shut-off for non-payment. In some cases the caller also tells the customer that they may have a faulty meter that is dangerous and in need of replacing for a substantial fee. The electric meter is the property of National Grid. Customers are not responsible for meter replacement costs. Callers are then directed to purchase a pre-paid card to make an immediate payment in order to keep their power on."
"National Grid does contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options, but never demands direct payment over the telephone. If customers wish, they can arrange for a payment by check, credit card or debit card if they speak directly to a customer service representative. Payment can also be made by credit card or debit card without a representative’s assistance. Customers who have received calls demanding immediate payment through a pre-paid card or who have billing questions should call the Customer Contact Center. Customers in New England can call 1-800-322-3223."
The winter months often see the most utility scam activity, because this is when heating use is highest and when people are most concerned about losing electricity and heat.
The North Andover Police Department also urges you to call their non-emergency line at 978-683-3168 if you receive a suspicious call about a utility bill.