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PSEG Long Island is warning residents about phone scammers, who have become increasingly sophisticated — even generating fake “PSEG Long Island” caller IDs to dupe their victims.

There has been a recent uptick in scamming, PSEG-LI said in a press release yesterday.

Nearly 4,000 scam calls have been reported to PSEG-LI so far this year, compared with 4,088 scam calls reported in all of 2018, the company said. Recent weeks have seen an increase in the number of people tricked by these calls, PSEG-LI said.

Recent phone scams reported to PSEG-LI include demands for payment for past-due bills or priority meter installations. Often scammers will threaten to disconnect electric service if payment is not made immediately. These scammers often demand payment through a pre-paid card or bitcoin. If the victim takes the bait, the scammer provides a telephone number where a fake representative requests additional information that completes the fraudulent transaction.

“Signs that a call may not be legitimate include a request for a specific payment type or a sense of urgency on the part of the caller,” said Rick Walden, vice president of customer operations at PSEG-LI .

“Our representatives will never demand payment and, though we offer a variety of payment options, they do not include pre-paid debit cards or bitcoin,” Walden said. “Additionally, if a customer is scheduled for disconnection due to nonpayment, they will receive written notice on their bill at least 10 days in advance.”

If customers receive a call from anyone demanding immediate payment, do not provide any personal or account information. Hang up and call PSEG-LI at 1-800-490-0025.

Customers should also know what PSEG-LI will and won’t discuss over the phone. A genuine PSEG-LI representative will ask to speak to the customer of record. If that person is available, the representative will explain why they are calling and provide the account name, address and current balance. If the person on the phone does not provide the correct information, it is likely the customer is not speaking with a PSEG-LI representative.

If the customer of record is not available, the PSEG-LI representative will not discuss the account at all and ask that a message be left for the customer of record to call 1-800-490-0025.

Besides phone scammers, PSEG-LI also cautions customers to beware of emails that appear to be bills from the utility. These emails request personal information that could lead to identity theft.

PSEG-LI does not ask customers to provide personal information online without first logging into the “My Account” section of PSEG-LI website. Never provide any personal information requested by email. Do not download any attachments, and do not click on any links in the email. Instead, open a browser window, visit www.psegliny.com and log into “My Account” to get accurate account information, or call PSEG-LI customer service.

PSEG-LI employees will always wear a PSEG-Long Island ID badge and PSEG-LI -branded clothing. If the identity of a visitor claiming to be from the company is suspicious, do not give access. Call 1-800-490-0025 to determine if PSEG-LI employees are in the area. If a customer is unable to verify that PSEG-LI employees are present, they should not allow the person entry and call 911.

Any customer who has doubts about the legitimacy of a call or email — especially one in which payment is requested — should call the PSEG-LI directly at 1-800-490-0025 or visit a PSEG-LI Customer Service Center. Service Centers are open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with locations listed on customer bills and online.

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