(WBNG) -- Local authorities are warning you to be on alert for energy phone scams this winter.
NYSEG is warning its customers of crooks posing as the power company to try to steal your money and information.
“Certainly this time of year, there’s reason for scammer to use NYSEG and other energy companies as a way to scam people out of money,” said Matt Bercak, a detective for the Broome County Sheriff’s Office.
NYSEG is warning its customers of scammers claiming to be from the company and threatening to cut off your power if you do not pay an immediate fee.
“The scammer would call and say, ‘Your bill wasn’t processed correctly or you are in delinquency and someone is on their way to shut off the power unless you pay us right now,’ ” said Bercak.
New York State Police and the Broome County Sheriff’s Office say winter is a prime time for crooks to pose as your energy provider.
NYSEG says your caller ID may show the call is coming from the utility and could even provide a callback number.
“They’ll spoof a number that you will see. It will come up on your phone as a 607 number but it’s somebody from China or someone from Nigeria and you will recognize it immediately, that it’s a spoof call and someone is trying to scam you,” said Capt. Jeffrey VanAuken from New York State Police Troop C.
That’s why authorities say it’s important to know the red flags and don’t fall for the tricks.
“Anyone who tries to get you to use a gift card or any other prepaid card to pay an energy bill. No legitimate energy company is going to do that,” said Bercak.
“If you are behind on your payments or something like that, they normally correspond with you via U.S. mail. They will send you something in the mail. They are not going to call you on the phone,” said VanAuken.
First responders say, even though they haven’t gotten reports of this scam in our area recently, they are urging you to stay alert.
“They are always looking for ways to try to scare people into giving away money so people should always be vigilant, specifically for energy scams. People should feel free to contact whoever their energy provider is to ensure that a call they received is legitimate,” said Bercak.
NYSEG also warns that these scammers can also try to come to your door posing as a NYSEG employee.
NYSEG officials say their real employees will always carry proper identification.
For more information on this scam, click here.