Orange & Rockland (O&R) reminds its customers to beware of scammers and the methods and lies they use to trick customers into parting with their money. The company is among more than 150 U.S. and Canadian energy and water companies that are marking International Fraud Awareness Week by providing information on how customers can avoid being scammed.
The companies are members of Utilities United Against Scams, which has designated Wednesday, November 16 as Utility Scam Awareness Day.
Scammers contact Orange & Rockland customers every day and tell them they must make an immediate payment to avoid a service turnoff.
Any customer who is asked to make an immediate payment to avoid a service shutoff should regard that as a scam. Orange & Rockland does not contact customers and demand immediate payment.
Here are some common scams that target residential and business customers in the company’s service area in New York and New Jersey:
· Scammers call customers and instruct them to buy a pre-paid card. These callers sometimes point the customer to a store that sells pre-paid cards. Once the customer puts money on the card and provides the scammer with the card number, the scammer steals the money. Orange & Rockland does not accept payment by pre-paid debit cards, MoneyGram or similar transfers.
· Scammers contact customers and demand payment with apps like Cash App, Venmo and Zelle. Orange & Rockland does not support these platforms for payment. The company also does not accept payment via Paypal or bitcoin.
· Some impostors who knock on a residential customer’s door try to talk their way inside to steal or even commit an assault. Orange & Rockland urges customers to ask anyone who claims to be from the company to show their company ID. If you are still unsure whether the person is from Orange & Rockland, call 1-877-434-4100 to check.
Customers should never provide callers with personal information, such as social security numbers. Anyone who thinks they have been the target of a scam should call their local police department.
Scammers who call customers by phone can even make an Orange & Rockland phone number appear on a customer’s caller ID display.
When a customer gives money to a scammer, the scammer will often claim that the payment did not go through and demand another payment. The company has gotten reports of customers providing multiple payments totaling thousands of dollars to a scammer.
Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies. O&R is a regulated utility that provides electric service to approximately 300,000 customers in southeastern New York State (where its franchise name is Orange & Rockland) and northern New Jersey (where it’s Rockland Electric Company), and natural gas service to approximately 130,000 customers in New York.