Customers of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation are reporting scammer activity this week, with bogus calls threatening to disconnect utility services if payment using a purchased prepaid card is not made immediately. Scammers’ calls appear to be from Central Hudson, using the utility’s caller ID phone number. According to Central Hudson, the utility would never request a payment in this way, and it warns customers to be vigilant against these scams. Customers who have received any such contact should call Central Hudson at (845) 452-2700.
“Central Hudson follows all regulations in communicating with customers about their accounts,” said Charles A. Freni, President and C.E.O. of Central Hudson. “Employees and authorized contractors drive marked vehicles and carry photo identification, and will always display it upon request. If there is ever any doubt about the authenticity of a contact, whether in person, on line or by phone, customers should call Central Hudson for confirmation.” He added that customers may also wish to note caller ID information, license plates, email addresses or other identifying information and report the incident to their local police department.
Central Hudson offers these other signs of a potential scam:
- Bill Payment or Credit Con: Scammers provide a phony account routing number to pay utility bills, receive a credit, or obtain federal assistance.
- Equipment or Repair Bogus Fee: Scammers call demanding a separate payment to replace or install a utility-related device or meter.
- Overpayment Trick: Scammers call claiming a customer has overpaid their utility bill, and request personal bank account information or a credit card number to facilitate a refund.
- Smishing Scam: Smishing, short for SMS phishing, attempts to trick mobile phone users into giving scammers personal information via text or SMS messages, which can then be used for identity theft.
- Bogus Bills: Scammers send suspicious emails that appear to be a utility bill, potentially featuring the utility’s logo and color scheme. Do not click on any links or attachments in any email unless the sender is verified.
Customers can protect themselves by:
- Never purchasing a prepaid card to avoid service disconnection or shutoff. Central Hudson does not specify how customers should make a bill payment and offers a variety of payment methods including online, by phone, automatic bank draft, U.S. mail or in person.
- Hanging up the phone, deleting the email or shutting the door when threatened with immediate disconnection or shutoff of service, if this was the first and only notification. Central Hudson follows state regulations by issuing advance notifications, and never a single call one hour or less before taking action.
- Calling Central Hudson for verification using the number on their bill, (845) 452-2700, and not the phone number the scammer provides. If customers ever feel that they are in physical danger, they should call 911.
Visit www.CentralHudson.com/ScamCentral for information and to view a video on spotting and avoiding scams; and follow Central Hudson on social media for notifications about local scam activity: Facebook.com/CentralHudson and www.Twitter.com/CentralHudson.