The Teaneck Police Department issued a warning against a prevalent PSE&G scam this week.
Cops said the scam involves crooks misrepresenting themselves as PSE&G employees and threatening to turn off electric and gas service if payment is not made to them immediately.
“In the vast majority of these cases, which are widespread throughout New Jersey, the money lost is quickly transferred by the actors to international bank accounts,” said Detective Michael Moliere. “At that point, it is rare to recover these funds.
"The best way to prevent these types of crimes is to educate the public.“
Six residents and two businesses were victimized in Teaneck last year for a total loss of $3,606, cops said.
The scam usually starts with a call from a Spanish or English speaker who pretends to be a PSE&G employee saying that the customer’s service would be disconnected if they do not make a payment using a prepaid debit card. In some cases the call is prerecorded.
The victim is told to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak at a pharmacy or convenience store, use cash to put money onto the card, and then provide the number on the card to the person who called them.
Typically, the customer provides that MoneyPak number and then the scammer transfers the funds to a prepaid card and cashes it in at an ATM.
When PSE&G makes an outbound phone call to customers, customer-specific information is shared with the customer, according to an advisory. That information includes the account name, address, number and current balance. If customers do not receive this correct information, they likely are not speaking with a PSE&G representative. If customers feel uncomfortable and they know they have an outstanding balance that needs to be resolved, they should hang up and call PSE&G directly at 1-800-436-7734 or visit a local PSE&G Customer Service Center.
When in doubt, hang up and call PSE&G directly at the phone number listed on your bill.