Con Edison Scams
Have you been the victim of a scam involving someone impersonating a Con Edison employee? Unfortunately, fraud involving Con Edison are a recurring problem. Here we explain some of the common types of scams that con artists and scammers use to fool Con Edison customers, so that you can stay safe.
How Most Scams Happen
Scammers and con artists tend to use one of two main types of scams to fool Con Edison customers:
- Impending service disconnection: Con Edison customers will receive a call from someone claiming to be a Con Edison employee telling them that their service is about to be cut off unless they pay their bill immediately. In a recent scam, residents and small businesses were asked to pay their bill by Green Dot Money Pak (pre-paid debit cards).
- Discounts and rebates: Con Edison customers are approached by individuals impersonating Con Edison employees promising them reductions on their bill or rebates in return for cash or checks.
Recent Con Edison Scams
Some recent scam targeting Con Edison customers have included:
Con Edison Scams Involving Green Dot Money Pak
This scam was reported in 2012. Many Con Edison residential and small business customer fell victim to an elaborate scam in which they received a call from a 1-800 number telling them that their service would be shut off imminently if they didn't pay their bill by purchasing Green Dot Money Pak pre-paid debit cards. The scammer instructed customers to pay cash to put money on the card and to provide the number to the person who called them. They often would even tell the customer about a store near the customer's home that sold Green Dot Money Pak cards. They then stole the money on the cards when the customer provided them with the number.
Identity Theft of Con Edison Customers
This scam occurred over the course of 2012-2013. Several Con Edison customers fell victim to identity theft when scammers contacted them (mostly by phone, but sometimes by text or other means) telling them that President Obama was providing credits or applying payments to utility bills. The scammers asked customers for their Social Security Number and Con Edison account number, and instructed them to make a payment to Con Edison using an out-of-state bank account and routing number. However, this bank account was false, which customers would realize when they received a notice from Con Edison telling them that payment was not received.
Con Edison False Rebates
This scam was reported in 2013: con artists posed as Con Edison employees and approached customers promising to reduce their bills in return for cash or a check. This scam targeted customers in the Bronx, Queens and Yonkers, and the scammers often had fake identification cards.
Con Edison Scams
Customers have reported this scam over the course of 2014-2015. Con Edison small business customers have continued to fall victim to a similar phone scam in which they receive a call from someone claiming to be a Con Edison representative threatening them with imminent service disconnection unless they purchase pre-paid debit cards. The scammers were reported to have called from 1-800 numbers or even Con Edison's customer service number. Customers would call the scammers back to provide the pre-paid debit card PIN numbers, and the scammers stole the money on the cards before customers realized that it was a fraud. Sometimes the scammers were reported to have called back a second time the next day, to try to obtain more money.
How to Avoid Con Edison Scams
Tips for Avoiding Con Edison Scams
There are a few things you should do when dealing with anyone who contacts you (whether in person or over the phone) claiming to be representing Con Edison.
- Always ask to see identification: all Con Edison employees who visit your home or business will have a visible photo identification badge.
- Con Edison's toll-free number is 1-800-752-6633. Be wary of any phone call from Con Edison that doesn't come from this number
- Call Con Edison: if you have the slightest doubt about the authenticity of the Con Edison representative you are dealing with, call Con Edison at 1-800-752-6633
- If you receive a sudden warning of an impending service shutoff due to an unpaid bill, contact Con Edison to verify, either over the phone or via your online Con Edison My Account.
- Remember, Con Edison does not authorize payments of electric or gas bills by pre-paid debit cards such as the Green Dot Money Pak. Never pay your bill by any other means than what Con Edison accepts for payment. Call Con Edison immediately if you are asked to pay to an out-of-state address.
- Never provide your Social Security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it unless it was you initiated the contact and you know the identity of the person you are speaking with
To avoid confusion, you might want to consider signing up for Direct Payment, an automated recurring payment program. When you sign up for Direct Pay, the total amount of your bill is automatically deducted from your bank account 10 days after your bill is sent to you, meaning that you never have to worry about a late or overdue payment. Find out more about Direct Pay and other bill payment options.
Authorized Con Edison Bill Pay Options
As a reminder, here are the various ways you can pay your Con Edison bill:
- With cash: at any one of the Con Edison Customer Service Walk-in Centers or at an authorized payment center
- By check or money order: only when you mail your payment to the following address (which should match the address on the pay stub portion of your bill): Con Edison, JAF Station, P.O. Box 1702, New York, NY 10116-1702. Checks should be made out to "Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc."
- Through your bank account: you can do this online, through your Con Edison My Account, or over the phone with Con Edison Payment Express at 1-888-925-5016, or through your online bank account.
- By credit/debit card: you can pay by credit/debit card at any one of the authorized payment centers, or online/over the phone using the secure third party service, BillMatrix. The number for BillMatrix is 1-888-747-1532, or you can pay online at https://webpayments.billmatrix.com/ConEdResidential
Keep in mind that Con Edison does not accept pre-paid debit cards (such as the Green Dot Money Pak).
Con Edison Disconnection Procedure
Many con artists contact Con Edison customers telling them that their power or gas bills haven't been paid, and they will have their energy service disconnected imminently unless they pay immediately. However, Con Edison must follow certain rules for disconnection that have been set out by the New York Public Services Commission.
When Can Con Edison Disconnect Service?
The NY PSC allows Con Edison to disconnect service for the following reasons:
- The customer has failed to pay a bill (or part of a bill) at any time during the past year (12 months)
- The customer hasn't paid amounts due as part of a deferred payment agreement
- The customer hasn't paid a security deposit
- The customer either hasn't paid or has not agreed in writing to pay for electricity service installation/equipment
- The customer has been sent a final disconnection/termination notice no less than two weeks (15 days) before the disconnection date
This last point is important. The New York Public Services Commission requires Con Edison to provide a final notice of termination or disconnection to the customer, at least 15 days before the date that they actually cut service. The notice must clearly state that it is a final notice before impending disconnection (the NY PSC even goes so far to provide example language that utilities should use in the notice). This notice must be either delivered in person to the service address, or be sent by mail. The PSC also requires Con Edison to wait until at least 20 days after the payment due date before they can send out a final disconnection notice.
Furthermore, Con Edison can only disconnect service between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and not on public holidays or any other day on which Con Edison's main business office is closed for business. They also cannot terminate/disconnect service to any residential customer for failure to pay their bills during a two-week period over Christmas and New Year’s Day.
What does this all mean? Well, one of the most important points to remember is that it is very unlikely that you will be unaware that you have missed a payment before you receive notice of an upcoming disconnection. Con Edison prefers to resolve payment problems before termination is necessary. If your service is scheduled for disconnection, you must have received written warning, and it is quite likely that Con Edison will have called you before issuing a final notice.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Con Edison can only disconnect your service at certain times of the week. If you receive an impending service disconnection call from someone claiming to be working for Con Edison on the weekend or on a holiday, then you should call Con Edison at 1-800-752-6633, as this is likely fraudulent.
What to do if you think you've been the victim of a scam
Call Con Edison at 1-800-752-6633 if you think that you've been the victim of a scam involving someone impersonating a Con Edison representative. You may also call your local police department to report the scam.