Earlier this month, Rhode Island residents were warned about a utility scam where fraudsters try to trick them into disclosing sensitive bank account information. The fraudsters pretend to be representatives from your local utility provider; in Rhode Island, National Grid.
During the phone call, the fraudsters claim that customer's account is past due, and that their electric or gas utilities will be shut off unless they pay immediately, by providing their bank account and payment information over the phone. Besides Rhode Island, the fraudsters have targeted consumers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Florida, and Alabama. In Florida, the fraudsters demanded payment via the Green Dot prepaid card.
National Grid does not contact Rhode Island customers by phone about past due account notices. If you receive a phone call with this scam, or were affected:
- Do not give out bank account and payment information over the phone,
- Do not wire money to people you do not know,
- Do not give prepaid cards to people you do not know,
- Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and
- Contact directly your utility provider directly about your account status.