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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — With scam artists aggressively targeting utility customers, Eversource is warning people to be on the lookout for new tactics being used so they don’t fall victim. Scammers continue finetuning their techniques, including using phony caller IDs that display ‘Eversource’ and scripts that sound like a legitimate company representative threatening to disconnect their electric or gas service because of an unpaid bill.
“Unfortunately, these scammers sound legitimate and with a phony caller ID they’re even more convincing — so we all need to have our ‘guard up’ more than ever,” said Eversource Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Penni Conner. “These scam artists sound sophisticated and are ruthless. That’s why we’re reminding customers to beware — if they get a call and the caller’s message doesn’t look or sound right, don’t panic and don’t pay. Remember, we will never threaten to disconnect service or demand instant payment over the phone.”
The energy company offers the following tips to help avoid becoming a victim:
• Eversource representatives never demand instant payment over the phone, require the use of pre-paid debit cards, or request customers meet at a “payment center” to make the payment;
• Never provide personal financial or account information to any unsolicited person on the phone, at the door or online, even if they seem legitimate;
• Beware — some sophisticated scammers can manipulate their caller ID to say the caller is with Eversource;
• Customers who are scheduled for disconnection due to nonpayment receive a written notice that includes information on how to maintain their service; and
• Customers can verify they are speaking with an Eversource representative by asking for some basic information about their account – like the name on the account, the account address, and the exact past due balance.

Eversource urges anyone who believes they are a target of improper solicitation to immediately contact their local law enforcement. Customers are also encouraged to contact the energy company at l-877-659-6326 if they receive a call, text, email or if someone shows up at your door to verify it’s Eversource.

For more information on how to protect personal information and avoid becoming a victim of utility scams, visit Eversource.com.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD Freedom Credit Union (FCU), headquartered in Springfield and serving members in the four counties of western Massachusetts and Hartford and Tolland counties in Connecticut, is warning the public of emerging sweetheart scams.

According to data from the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network, more than $200 million was reported lost last year by 20,000 individuals falling victim to online schemers. In comparison, 8,500 people filed claims of $33 million in losses in 2015.

Sweetheart scammers, also commonly referred to as romance scammers or catfishers, prey on individuals looking for love or companionship online. By creating phony online profiles and backgrounds, these individuals forge relationships by gaining trust and then seeking monetary gain. Often, an emergency will be fabricated; creating a storyline and opportunity to request money from the unsuspecting victim.

“Internet dating sites have become increasingly popular, especially during the early spring months, with people spending more time inside and with more free time,” explained FCU President Glenn Welch. “With so much at stake, we want to raise awareness to protect members of our community from falling prey.”

Welch offered the following signs of a potential scam. The individual:

  • Professes love or affection quickly;
  • Asks to move the conversation off the chat or dating website;
  • Requests money or gifts to handle an emergency medical bill or travel expense;
  • Offers to meet in person, but always offers an excuse as to why they must cancel plans.

“It’s never wise to send gifts or money to someone you’ve never met,” warned Welch. “While it’s possible that online relationships can develop into real life relationships, it’s best to be cautious of individuals who seem too good to be true, or who ask for gifts of money for situations that seem outlandish.”

Consumers who believe they’ve been a victim of a sweetheart scam can report the incident to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. For the latest updates from Freedom Credit Union, visit freedom.coop.

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