Scam aimed at G&E customers

WESTFIELD – Officials of the city’s public utility are warning residents of a scam targeting G&E customers after a rash of calls inquiring about intimidating phone calls received from a caller claiming to represent the Westfield Gas and Electric Light Department.
Sean Fitzgerald, the customer service manager at the city owned power company, said Wednesday that a number of customers have called after receiving telephone calls from persons purporting to represent the collections department of the G&E.
Fitzgerald said the targets of the scam are told that their power will be terminated if they do not make immediate payment over the phone.
“And they’re not accepting credit cards” Fitzgerald said.
He said that the potential victims are told to purchase a specific type of prepaid money order which is used much like a gift card and which can be redeemed over the telephone to make the required payment.
“It’s a scare tactic. They tell people they’re going to lose their power” he said and added “some people have been very nervous.”
Fitzgerald said that one small business owner told him he was so concerned about losing power that he almost fell for the scam but he thought to call the G&E in time.
He said that the G&E does not call customers on the phone seeking to collect past due accounts.
“We don’t do it. We do all letters mailed to the residents or businesses,” he said.
Fitzpatrick said that the scam is not new to the utilities industry, “It’s been happening across several utility territories,” he said.
“We just want people to know it’s a scam and please don’t send them anything.”

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