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  • As Temperatures Dip, Scams Rise- Eversource and other utilities urge caution to customers

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    November 16, 2018
    Eversource and other utilities urge caution to customers
     
    While bracing for colder temperatures this winter season, Eversource wants its customers to look out for the seasonal increase in common utility scams. These scammers will show up at front doors or call on the phone posing as Eversource employees to get money, demand personal information for identity theft, or use deceptive marketing tactics to convince customers to switch energy suppliers. This week, as part of Utilities United Against Scams, a consortium of over 100 energy companies, Eversource is urging its customers to beware of scammers and to heed law enforcement’s warnings.
     
    A common utility con involves customers getting phone calls warning that their service is about to be shut off because of unpaid bills. The caller claims to be a billing representative from Eversource who tells a customer that to avoid an immediate shutoff, they need to settle an overdue bill by providing a credit card number or a prepaid debit card. Both businesses and homeowners are targeted and, unfortunately, scammers are meeting with great success. While the median monetary loss for all scam victims is $274, the median loss for a utility scam victim is $500, according to the Better Business Bureau. In fact, the BBB has found that people are more susceptible to utility scams than they are to Internal Revenue Service scams.
     
    “We will never demand an on-the-spot payment, in person or by phone. Don’t panic and don’t pay,” said Eversource Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Penni Conner. “We’re always working to serve you better and are proud to partner with our fellow energy companies, retailers and local law enforcement. We also urge our customers who receive a suspicious phone call or home to call us at 1-800-662-7764 to verify ANY request for payment or personal information.”
     
    “We have investigated countless scams and typically see a seasonal uptick in those targeting utility customers,” said Bedford Police Chief John Bryfonski. “Just last winter, the owner of a local animal hospital was targeted by scammers threatening to shut off her power unless an immediate payment was made. We often see cases like this where business owners who would be critically impacted by an interruption of electrical service are targeted during their peak hours of operation. Knowing she was up-to-date on her bill, the hospital owner did the right thing—she didn’t panic or make a hasty payment and instead called Eversource to confirm.”
     
    Reminders:
     
    • All Eversource employees carry photo identification; field workers wear company logoed clothing and drive company vehicles.
    • Eversource representatives never demand instant payment in person or over the phone.
    • Eversource representatives do not require the use of prepaid debit cards (such as Green Dot MoneyPak, Vanilla or Reloadit.)
    • Eversource representatives never request customers meet at a payment center, such as a department or grocery store, to make a payment.
    • Eversource does not solicit door-to-door or on the phone on behalf of third-party energy suppliers.
     
    Eversource urges anyone who believes they are a target of improper solicitation to please alert local law enforcement and contact the company directly at 1-800-662-7764. The energy company tracks these types of customer concerns and reports them to state regulators.
     
    Eversource.com and the Utilities United Against Scams websites provide more information on how to protect personal information and avoid becoming a victim of utility scams. Concerned customers can also report scams and fraudulent activity by calling the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission at 800-852-3793.
     
    Eversource (NYSE: ES) is New Hampshire's largest electric utility, serving more than 500,000 homes and businesses in 211 cities and towns, and also supplies water to approximately 9,300 homes and businesses in Hampton, North Hampton and Rye. Eversource is proud to be recognized as the top contributor to United Way in New Hampshire. Recognized as the top U.S. utility for its energy efficiency programs by the sustainability advocacy organization Ceres, Eversource harnesses the commitment of about 8,000 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and water with superior customer service. For more information, please visit our website (www.eversource.com) and follow us on Twitter (@eversourceNH) and Facebook (facebook.com/EversourceNH). For more information on our water services, visit www.aquarionwater.com.
    Contact:
    William Hinkle
    603-634-2228