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Sharon Business Falls Victim to "Green Dot Card" Scam

Protect You & Your Family From Scams

Recently there has been an increase in scams both in our region and nationally. At NSTAR we want to protect you from potential scams.

As an important safety reminder, all NSTAR employees carry photo identification at all times and most of our employees also drive a company vehicle.

If you believe somebody is falsely claiming to be an NSTAR employee, report the incident immediately to your local police.

NSTAR employees also rarely make unsolicited house visits. Some exceptions include following up on collections notices, accessing our equipment to ensure the safe and efficient operation of our distribution system, or there is another safety concern.

To help further protect yourself from potential scams, please keep the following tips in mind:

  • Never provide personal financial information to any unsolicited individual, whether in person, on the phone, or online.
  • Customers schedule for disconnection due to non-payment receive advanced written notice, which includes actions they can take to ensure their service isn't interrupted.
  • Customers have multiple payment options available, including E-Bill, One Time Payments, Pay by Phone, Money Orders, Walk-In Locations and credit card payments.
  • NSTAR would never ask customers to purchase prepaid cards.
  • You can verify a caller claiming to be from NSTAR is legitimate by asking for some basic information about your account. Our representatives are able to provide the name on your account, the account address and exact past due balance on your account.
  • Always decline any door-to-door offer claiming to be from NSTAR - even if the individuals provide proof such as a utility company badge number. You can also call us directly at 800-592-2000 to confirm any offers.

Examples of Recent Scams

A common theme of most scams is threatening customers with disconnection if a same-day payment is not made. Here are some examples of scam attempts that have been reported to NSTAR.

  • A caller states they represent the Billing Department and tell customers they will be shut off if they don’t make a payment by midnight.
  • A caller instructs a customer to make a payment by purchasing a “Green Dot” VISA card. The customer is then asked to call another phone number where information is obtained from the credit card and the monetary value is removed.
  • A customer reported receiving a phone call from another electric utility telling him that we are disconnecting the customer’s service by 7 p.m. unless a payment of $500 was made.
  • A business customer reported receiving a call advising him that “the system crashed after the hurricane” and a payment was needed over the phone to maintain the customers' service. Similarly, another caller told customers a payment wasn't received because of the hurricane, so their service would be disconnected immediately unless a payment was made.
  • A customer was told by a caller that their meter was malfunctioning and the customer was being overcharged. The customer was instructed to purchase a prepaid credit card for $200. The customer was later called back and told the payment wasn't completed, so another card needed to be purchased for $300 - with the assurance the customer would be refunded $1,000 and the meter repaired.
  • In some instances, customers reported NSTAR's 800-number appearing on their caller ID.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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