Posted By: Jennifer O'Neill // Oct 13, 2016

Yesterday we were informed by two separate clients here in Western New York that they paid money to what they thought was National Grid, but was really a scammer. 

I had the opportunity to speak with one of the individuals running the scam when my client called me and said they had just paid over $2,000 using prepaid debit cards, but the electric company was still coming to shut off their service. He was told this was because he did not make the correct payment amounts.

I called the number that the client was called from (866 -243-7586) and it sounded like I was calling national grid.  The phone rang and had the same “National Grid, here with you, here for you” slogan, followed by press 1 to start or stop service, 2 for collections and so on.  The individual that I spoke Mr. Tom Watkins who claimed he was the head director, proceeded to tell me that the only way to stop the shut off, even though the client had already paid, was to make another full payment by using a prepaid debit card. He told me that the meter man was only 8 minutes away.  He explained that the first two payments were going to be refunded but the system rejected them because they weren’t the correct amounts.  The only way to hold off the service shut off was to make the full correct payment amount now.  He offered to give me 25 minutes to go and get a prepaid debit card and call back with the numbers.  He told me that credit cards or bank checks over the phone would take too long and not stop the shut off, and that I couldn’t pay the meter person with cash either.  We hung up and called National Grid’s actual phone number and confirmed that this had been a scam.  Later last night, I received another call from another client who had done the same thing and also paid over $2,000 to these scammers.

Be aware of anyone that calls you and asks you to verify information or wants you to make a payment by using a prepaid debit card over the phone.  If you think that it may be a scam, hang up and call the actual phone number for whoever was claiming to call you before you give any information over the phone.  We have seen this with the IRS and now National Grid, and expect it only to get worse with more scams coming.




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