With graduation season in our area, many businesses are working full-out to meet their clients needs. Some of the local scamsters have decided that it's a good time to try to defraud some of those businesses. Below is an email we received from The Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce about the latest local phone scam.
NYSEG or any legimate business will never make that kind of call "out of the blue". They all have carefully scripted procedures to contact their customers with overdue balances.
While we're on the topic, we're hearing more about calls purported to be from the IRS seeking overdue tax payments, typically from the elderly. They want to be "paid" immediately by gift card, like Best Buy or Apple. As absurd as this sounds, unsuspecting people are falling for this phone scam. That "success" is why these scams continue to proliferate.
"We are reaching out to help make you aware of a new scam prevalent in Tompkins County. The scam presents as an official call from NYSEG noting that your account is overdue and will be turned off unless an immediate payment is secured.
During the week of May 21st, the Ithaca Tompkins Chamber and Convention & Visitors Bureau received a call, wherein the caller identified themselves as a representative from NYSEG. The caller proceeded to tell us that our account was overdue, and services were to be shut off. Our team took a message and upon calling back the toll-free number provided, we were directed to an "official" NYSEG recording re-stating that if payment was not made within 45 minutes, services will be turned off.
NYSEG is aware of this scam, and it has been reported to the FCC. They believe that these calls are targeting mostly small businesses throughout the area. If you receive a call of this nature, please write down the time and date of the call, the number the call came in on, and the number appearing on caller ID. DO NOT provide payment over the phone, and contact NYSEG’s official number at 1-800-572-1111 to speak with someone directly.
We hope this information will help circumvent additional confusion and concern these attempts at fraudulent activity may cause."