While payment collection scams are not new, there is greater potential for people behind on their utility bills to become victims as a grace period on utility shutoffs continues in New Jersey into 2022.
South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas ask for our media partners’ help in raising awareness about these “pay right now or we’ll turn off your service” scams. We can make a company spokesperson available for interviews upon request.
Recent examples of complaints about these scams include:
On March 19, a South Jersey Gas customer in Cumberland County received a call on from a person demanding $2,300 and threatened to shut off the victim’s gas service. The scammer gave the customer false information about a company supervisor and told the victim to go to a Dollar General Store to put money on a prepaid card.
On Feb. 8, a South Jersey Gas customer in Camden County received a call from a person pretending to be from the utility and offering a fictitious case number. The scammer demanded immediate payment from the customer’s Visa card and threatened to shut off the victim’s gas service.
While we encourage customers behind on their bills to immediately seek payment arrangements and take full advantage of utility assistance programs, South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas also want to educate customers on protecting themselves from scams.
Don’t be a victim ... be prepared. Know the scams.
Never provide your Social Security number or banking information to anyone initiating contact with you claiming to be a utility representative or requesting you to send money.
We will never require you to use only one type of payment or ask you to pay by prepaid cards, gift cards or through third party wire transfers or apps.
Always ask to see a company photo ID before allowing any utility worker into your home or business.
If you’re unsure, call South Jersey Gas at 888-766-9900, or Elizabethtown Gas at 800-242-5830. You may also report fraud by calling these toll-free numbers.
Resources are available for those struggling to pay their energy bills.
Applications will resume in October for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The Payment Assistance for Gas and Electric (PAGE), Universal Service Fund (USF) and several other programs are also available to help.