When people are vulnerable, predators are known to take advantage, so, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the nor’easter that recently battered New Jersey, the New Jersey Utilities Association (NJUA) warns customers to be on guard against individuals that falsely claim to be utility company representatives.
Local utility companies, such as Middlesex Water Company, PSE&G, and Verizon, belong to the association.
“The safety of our employees and customers is always job one for NJUA member utility companies. While so many are reaching out to assist those whose lives have been disrupted by the recent storms, there are also the few who will take advantage of people at their time of need. We want to remind our customers to take extra precautions and protect themselves and their property from strangers that attempt to gain access to customers’ personal and account information and their residences,” said Andrew Hendry, President and CEO of NJUA.
To avoid being victimized, NJUA advises customers:
- Take extra steps to ensure that people calling or knocking on their doors claiming to represent a utility company are legitimate. The public should be aware that utilities do not initiate calls to customers requesting their account information, mailing address, driver’s license or Social Security numbers. To protect customer accounts, utilities will routinely ask customers for identifying information when the customer contacts them, but not the other way around.
- If someone arrives at a customers’ home or business claiming to be a utility company employee or contractor, they should be asked to produce identification. All utility company employees and contractors wear or carry identification badges or cards bearing the company name and logo, and the employee's or contractor's color photograph.
- Public Safety officials advise residents to look closely at the identification to make sure the person at their door is the same as the one in the picture.
- When confronted by someone that cannot give proof of their affiliation, customers should refuse admittance and call local police immediately. If the person at the door produces I.D., but the customer remains concerned, prior to admitting the person into their home, the homeowner should call the utility company at the appropriate number below to confirm the representative’s authenticity.