Attorney General Kilmartin and National Grid Warn of Billing Scams Targeting Rhode Island Businesses
After receiving more than a dozen complaints from small business owners alerting the Office that they were targets of a billing scam with callers posing as representatives of National Grid, Attorney General Kilmartin is urging other businesses to be on high alert should they receive a phone call from a person purporting to be from the company.
Business owners have reported that the person calling seeks payment for a past due balance on their utility bill. In some instances, the caller offers to “lower” the amount owed if the customer agrees to make an immediate payment. The caller requests payment be made by a pre-paid debit-like card (available at retail locations) and provides a fraudulent phone number for the business owner to call back with the pre-paid card information. In some instances, the caller provides the location of nearby retail outlets that sell the pre-paid cards.
The phone number the scammers provide to customers is 855-842-4526, which is an automated system that mimics National Grid’s iconic tagline “National Grid. Here with you. Here for you,” followed by prompts to connect with an operator.
Attorney General Kilmartin confirmed with National grid that the phone number is not associated with the company. The scammer may be using several different phone numbers associated with the scam.
“These outfits are becoming more elaborate in their scam and savvier in finding new and convincing ways to trick consumers and small business owners into thinking they are dealing with an actual National Grid representative. It’s important to report it to our office or National Grid if you receive one of these phone calls so we can alert other businesses and consumers before they fall victim,” said Attorney General Kilmartin.
Timothy Horan, President and COO of National Grid Rhode Island said, “Protecting our customers from these types of scams is a major priority for National Grid and we’re grateful to Attorney General Kilmartin for his vigilance. We want our customers to recognize suspicious activity, report it, and be confident in knowing when they are interacting with our customer service team.”
National Grid offers the following tips to consumers to help spot a scam call:
Customers who have received calls demanding immediate payment and are asked to make a payment using an iTunes card, pre-paid debit card, or asked for bank account information should contact National Grid immediately at National Grid’s Customer Contact Center at 1-800-322-3223.
To report the scam to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit, please call 401-274-4400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About National Grid
National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company that supplies the energy for more than 20 million people through its networks in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain.
National Grid is transforming its electricity and natural gas networks to support the 21st century digital economy with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions. Read more about the innovative projects happening across our footprint in The Democratization of Energy, an eBook written by National Grid’s US president, Dean Seavers.
For more information please visit our website: www.nationalgridus.com. You can also follow us on Twitter, watch us on You Tube, friend us on Facebook and find our photos on Instagram.