Current Risk Alert
May 25, 2023
One of our parishes was recently the target of a convincing fraud involving Eversource, their energy provider. A person purporting to represent Eversource called the parish, informing them that they were at risk of having their electricity shut off. The caller was extremely professional, even referencing a case number and past payments. When they explained that they required an immediate payment, the parish grew suspicious and contacted Eversource directly, who confirmed that it was a scam.
The scammer is betting on the chance that most business managers will simply pay the outstanding payment without investigation. In January, Eversource issued a warning to customers, as this type of scam has become increasingly common. They have a list of common scams to be mindful of on their website, as well as further information about preventative measures to take.
Common Types of Fraud
The nature of Eversource scams varies, but some of the more common ones include phishing (or “smishing”), or sending fake emails or text messages requesting personal information; overpayment claims, or scammers claiming that you overpaid your utility bill and request your personal bank account or credit card information to give you a refund; and requests for a deposit to exchange your utility meter scan (note: meters do not expire).
Some simple steps will prevent you from falling victim to this type of scam:
- Be mindful of requests for urgent or immediate payment. Your power will never be shut off quickly and without warning: customers who are scheduled for disconnection due to nonpayment receive written notice via the U.S. mail, which includes the actions they can take to maintain service. In winter, there’s even a moratorium on shutting off power in the state of Massachusetts. If the caller is requesting an immediate payment using a third-party service, at another location or via a prepaid debit card, hang up immediately and contact your provider.
- Prior to making any payment, confirm directly with the utility vendor. Do not simply issue payment; confirm directly over the phone or email with your regular contact. Do not accept offers from anyone to pay your bill or provide any other service for a fee.
- Do not share financial information solicited over the phone. Verify your utility supplier and any contracts with your business manager, as well as the status of payments.
REMEMBER: STOP – CALL – CONFIRM
If your business or organization is targeted by a scam, please contact the Office of Risk Management (email@example.com).