Consumers Beware: NYSEG Scams
Unfortunately, scams involving utilities like NYSEG are fairly common. Have you been a victim of fraud involving NYSEG? Here we explain some of the common types of scams that con artists and scammers use to prey on NYSEG customers, so that you can stay safe.
Common Features of NYSEG Scams
Scams involving NYSEG tend to share some common features
- The scams target small businesses or vulnerable households in the NYSEG service area
- They often involve the threat of immediate disconnection if NYSEG customers don't pay money immediately
NYSEG impersonators may try to enter customer homes by asking to see their bills and/or meters, and may steal goods or demand money for their services.
How to Avoid Being Scammed
While con artists and scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated (see our descriptions of recent scams targeting NYSEG customers below), spotting a scam can be fairly easy if you stay aware of a few facts.
General Tips for Avoiding Scams
Get in the habit of following these tips when dealing with anyone who contacts you (whether in person or over the phone) claiming to be representing NYSEG.
- Always ask for identification: all NYSEG employees should have company photo identification cards. If you are approached in person by someone claiming to represent NYSEG, ask to see their ID. Any contractor doing work for NYSEG is also required to carry a NYSEG ID. In most cases, NYSEG employees will travel in clearly marked NYSEG vehicles when providing service to residences and businesses.
Verify a phone call from NYSEG by asking the representative to provide the last four or five digits of your NYSEG account number (make sure to have this handy with you!), or ask them for their employee number
- Never provide your Social Security Number, credit card number, and/or bank account information to anyone requesting it unless it was you initiated the contact and you are sure of the identity of the person you are speaking with.
- Never let anyone into your home if they cannot show you official NYSEG ID, or if you have any doubt about their authenticity. For example, if someone comes to your door and you are not sure whether they truly are a NYSEG representative, tell them to wait outside, and call NYSEG customer service to confirm their identification
- NYSEG's customer service number is 1-800-572-1111. Their number for payment arrangements is 1-888-315-1755. Be extremely cautious of any calls from people claiming to be from NYSEG that do not come from these numbers, and never make a payment on a website that comes from a link in an email or on a website that isn't linked to NYSEG.
If you receive a visit or a phone call from someone claiming to be from NYSEG but who you don't trust, call NYSEG customer service, or your local police. If you think it is an emergency, call 9-1-1
One way of avoiding most types of NYSEG scams is to sign up for automated billing. With NYSEG's Autopay service, your total amount due from your bill is automatically deducted from your account each month. Find out more about autopay.
Avoiding NYSEG Phone Scams
You can avoid falling for a phone scam from someone claiming to be calling from NYSEG if you remember these tips:
Verify the identity of the caller: NYSEG representatives should be able to provide you with exact details of your account, such as the last five digits of your account number, and/or the exact balance on your account. If you doubt the identity of the caller, hang up immediately and call NYSEG customer service at 1-800-572-1111.
Be careful about providing personal information: be wary of providing personal information (including your banking/credit card information, or Social Security Number) to anyone who calls you, unless you are sure about the authenticity of the caller.
Know when NYSEG might call you: NYSEG may contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options and to remind them that service disconnection is a possibility if they fail to pay their past due balance. However, they never will demand immediate payment as the only option to avoid shutoff. Customers who may face impending service disconnection if they don't pay their past due balance still have the option of paying by check, credit card or debit card.
Be aware of NYSEG's disconnection process: NYSEG must certain rules set by the New York Public Services Commission when it comes to disconnecting customers for non-payment. It is unlikely that you will be unaware of having missed a payment before receiving a final disconnection notice. Find out more about the service shutoff procedure NYSEG must follow.
Avoiding Door to Door Scams
Keep these tips in mind when you receive a visit at the door from anyone claiming to be representing NYSEG
- If you receive a visit from a NYSEG employee who you have doubts about, do not let them into your home until you have first called NYSEG to confirm their identity.
- Know why NYSEG might visit you: NYSEG does not conduct sales door-to-door, nor do they offer home energy services (such as residential equipment inspections or maintenance services).
- Do not show your bill to anyone who knocks on your door.
Backgrounder: NYSEG's Disconnection Process
Many scammers contact NYSEG 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, NYSEG - like all New York utilities - must follow certain rules for disconnection that have been set out by the New York Public Services Commission.
When Can NYSEG Shut Off Service?
The New York Public Services Commission allows NYSEG to disconnect service for the following reasons:
- At any time during the past 12 months, the customer has failed to pay a bill (or failed to pay a part of a bill)
- 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 NYSEG 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. NYSEG is also required to wait until at least 20 days after the payment due date before they can send out a final disconnection notice.
Furthermore, NYSEG is only allowed to 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 NYSEG'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. NYSEG prefers to resolve payment problems before termination is necessary. If your service is scheduled for disconnection, you must have already received a written warning, and it is quite likely that NYSEG will also have called you before issuing a final notice.
Another thing to keep in mind is that NYSEG 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 NYSEG on the weekend or on a holiday, then you should call NYSEG straight away at 1-800-572-1111, as this is likely fraudulent.
NYSEG Bill Payment Options
As a reminder, NYSEG accepts the following payment options for your bill:
- With cash: at any authorized payment center, or at one of NYSEG's 13 walk-in office
- 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): NYSEG, P.O. Box 847812, Boston, MA 02284-7812
- Through your bank account: you can do this online, through your NYSEG account or through your bank account online, or over the phone by calling NYSEG at 1-800-600-2275
- By credit/debit card: you can pay by credit/debit card at any one of the authorized payment centers, or online using the secure third party service, KUBRA.
Keep in mind that NYSEG does not accept pre-paid debit cards (such as the Green Dot Money Pak) or gift cards as payment.
What to do if you think you've been the victim of a scam
Call NYSEG if you think that you've been the victim of a scam involving someone impersonating a NYSEG representative. You may also call your local police department and/or the Federal Trade Commission to report the scam.
Previous NYSEG Scams
Most recent scams involving NYSEG impersonators have been about false disconnection notices. NYSEG customers were contacted over the phone or at the door by scammers posing as NYSEG employees threatening imminent shutoff for electricity and/or gas service unless customers paid immediately. Customers were told to make the payment via a pre-paid debit card and provide the account number to the scammer who would then redeem the card. Pre-paid debit cards are not an accepted form of payment for NYSEG, and the utility will never demand them. Find out more about the procedure for service shutoff that NYSEG is required to follow.
- NYSEG offers these tips for avoiding scams:
- Always type our Web address when making an online payment at nyseg.com, do not rely on email links. While at nyseg.com, you can also check your account balance and any past-due amount status.
- When making a payment by phone, always ensure you are dialing our phone numbers: 1.800.572.1111 (customer service); 1.888.315.1755 (payment arrangements) or 1.800.600.2275 (self-service line). You can also check your account status by phone. Do not make any payments over the phone to anyone who has contacted you or asked you to dial a different number.
- Pay by credit card using our Web link; again, do not trust email links.
- If you are mailing your payment, our address is: NYSEG, P.O. Box 847812, Boston, MA 02284-7812.
- Pay in person at an authorized pay agent, a Walmart location or one of NYSEG’s walk-in office locations.
- If you pay your bill using your own payment service (for instance, your bank) always follow the payment service’s instructions to ensure your account security.
- Never provide your Social Security number, credit card number or bank information to anyone requesting it (over the phone or in person) unless you initiated the contact and feel confident that the transaction is legitimate.
- You can easily verify the identity of any NYSEG employee: ask for their photo ID card (if in person) or their employee number. Then contact us at 1.800.572.1111 to verify their identity and the nature of their business. Our employees are happy to comply with an identity verification request.
- We do not ask customers to purchase debit cards (like Green Dot cards) to make payments.