Customers of a number of utilities have reported scams in which they are pressured by callers or visitors representing themselves as utility employees who demand immediate payment or risk shut-off of services.
In other cases, persons representing themselves as utility employees have tried to gain entrance into customers’ homes.
Here are tips from New Mexico Gas Company on how to stay safe and avoid falling prey to those and other scams.
Be Wary of a Stranger Requesting Personal Information
If your balance is past due, you may get a call from one of our customer service representatives offering to take payment over the phone from either a checking or savings account or by credit card. One way to verify the representative’s authenticity is to ask them to provide you with information about your account, such as your address or your account number. If at any time you become suspicious of the caller, hang up and call us back at 888-NM-GAS-CO (888-664-2726) to discuss the details of your account and any balance that may be overdue.
Be Cautious with Third-Party Bill Payment Websites
Be careful about trying to pay your bill through a third-party bill payment website that is not your bank or through our arrangement with Western Union, accessed directly through the password-protected “Manage My Account” section of NMGCO.com.
Ask for Company ID
All NMGC employees are required to carry NMGC photo identification cards. If someone claiming to be an NMGC employee visits your home or business, request to see an ID badge or call us to verify his or her identity.
Situations in Which We Might Visit Your Home
Generally, there are only five situations in which a NMGC employee might visit your home:
To read the gas meter;
To turn on or turn off service;
To try to collect payment if your account is past due and you have been sent notice that your account is scheduled for disconnection;
To respond to an emergency you have reported (such as smelling natural gas in or near your home); or
To request access to relight your pilot lights after your service has been temporarily turned off (for example, if we had to shut off service to repair a line that feeds your neighborhood).
In all of these cases, for your protection, please ask to see the individual’s NMGC ID. If you become suspicious of someone representing themselves as a NMGC employee, please call us to verify their identity.
Share this information with friends and family so they do not become victims. The elderly are common victims of these types of scams, but anyone who pays a utility bill is a potential victim.