A new year means a new scamming tactic. PSE&G is warning customers that scammers are still trying to extract money from potential victims, by impersonating PSE&G employees on the phone.

Fred Daum, executive director of Customer Operations at PSE&G, says the new tactic involves scammers making outbound calls to customers, claiming to be PSE&G employees. If the customer does not pick up the phone, they will leave a voicemail and a phone number to call them back.

He said the scammer are directing customers to go to their online bank and use a third-party money transfer application. Daum said this is different from the green dot scam where they directed customers to go to a store and get a cash card and provide the information.

Daum said when these scammers provide a phone number, it could very well be PSE&G's actual phone number or maybe not. But there is a three-part combo red flag to watch out with these scammers.

One, they are going to threaten shutoff. Two, they are going to ask you about account information and balances that if it was actually the utility calling, they would already know and three, they are going to direct you to a third party money transfer application.

He said PSE&G will call customers if they are behind on their bills to remind them to make a payment. However, they will never call a customer, demand a payment and say someone is on their way to shut off service. "That's the first sign that you're being scammed," said Daum.

When the scammers call, they will either leave a number or a number will appear on the customer's caller ID. Daum said never ever hit return call. Instead, call 1-800-436-PSEG (7734). That will take you directly to the PSE&G customer service center.

Another thing to keep in mind is that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Executive Order 190 prevents residential shutoff until March 16. Daum warned that any type of phone call saying a customer will be shut off until March 16th is a scam.

PSE&G will also never accept payment from a third party application. That's a dead giveaway something is not right.

Daum said if you think you've been scammed or  you know you've been scammed, call the police.

For more information on scams, visit www.pseg.com.

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