Recently, I received a phone call offering "discounts on my Eversource bill." The caller identified himself as "Kevin." I have no idea if that is his real name. Kevin explained that I could get discounts by giving him some simple personal information. His then asked for my ZIP Code.
Right. I was born at night, but not last night.
I told Kevin that I don't share my personal information over the phone without knowing who the caller is. I asked him to provide four items: a) his full name, b) his company name, c) his company's phone number, and d) his company's website address.
Kevin replied, "okay." The next thing I heard was a loud click as he hung up.
Now, there are real companies offering discounts on electric utilities. Clearly, Kevin was not one of them. After receiving robocalls before from energy scammers, I have learned to demand these four data elements before sharing any personal information on the phone.
To protect yourself and your money from scam artists, Eversource advises residential customers:
"1. Always verify whether these callers are legitimate by asking for some basic information about your account. Our representatives will always be able to provide the name on the account, the account address, and the exact past due balance.
2. Never immediately pay, regardless of what the caller knows about your account. If they request an immediate payment using a third-party service, at another location or via a prepaid debit card, hang up immediately and contact us directly to verify your account status.
3. If you are suspicious, hang up and call us at 800-592-2000. Also, please report this to your local law enforcement.
4. Never wire money to someone you don’t know – regardless of the situation. Once you wire money, you cannot get it back.
5. Do not accept offers from anyone, including those claiming to be Eversource employees, to pay your bill or provide any other service for a fee.
6. Do not click on links or call numbers that appear in unexpected emails or text messages – especially those asking for your account information. If you click on a link, your computer could become infected with malware, including viruses that can steal your information and compromise your computer."
And, learn how to spot these five energy scams. Demanding that the caller clearly and completely identify their self also seems to work.