In order to bring you the best possible user experience, this site uses Javascript. If you are seeing this message, it is likely that the Javascript option in your browser is disabled. For optimal viewing of this site, please ensure that Javascript is enabled for your browser.
Nov. 14, 2018
For Release: Immediately
Central Hudson Reminds Customers to Remain Vigilant Against Scammers 

Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation joins Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) in recognizing United Against Scams Day. This annual observation, held this year on Nov. 14, is part of an ongoing campaign to increase awareness of the methods scammers often use to defraud utility customers, explain the warning signs of scammer activity and educate residents and small business owners on how to protect themselves.

"Central Hudson is taking part in this important awareness campaign to help our customers avoid becoming victimized," said Charles A. Freni, President and C.E.O. of Central Hudson. He said scammers often impersonate utility company employees or representatives in an attempt to steal money or personal information.

Freni explained that scammers commonly threaten to disconnect customers' utility services if they fail to make an immediate payment – typically using a prepaid card or other non-traceable form of payment purchased at a local retail store. Once the payment is made, the money is gone. Central Hudson would never request a payment by this method.

Other signs of a potential scam include:

  • Bill Payment or Credit Con: Scammers provide a phony account routing number to pay utility bills, receive a credit, or obtain federal assistance.
  • Equipment or Repair Bogus Fee: Scammers call demanding a separate payment to replace or install a utility-related device or meter.
  • Overpayment Trick: Scammers call claiming a customer has overpaid their utility bill, and request personal bank account information or a credit card number to facilitate a refund.
  • Smishing Scam: Smishing, short for SMS phishing, attempts to trick mobile phone users into giving scammers personal information via text or SMS messages, which can then be used for identity theft.
  • Bogus Bills: Scammers send suspicious emails that appear to be a utility bill, potentially featuring the utility's logo and color scheme. Do not click on any links or attachments in any email unless the sender is verified.

Customers can protect themselves by:

  • Never purchasing a prepaid card to avoid service disconnection or shutoff. Central Hudson does not specify how customers should make a bill payment and offers a variety of payment methods including online, by phone, automatic bank draft, U.S. mail or in person.
  • Hanging up the phone, deleting the email or shutting the door when threatened with immediate disconnection or shutoff of service, if this was the first and only notification. Central Hudson follows state regulations by issuing advance notifications, and never a single call one hour or less before taking action.
  • Calling Central Hudson for verification using the number on their bill, (845) 452-2700, and not the phone number the scammer provides. If customers ever feel that they are in physical danger, they should call 911.

"Central Hudson follows all regulations in communicating with customers about their accounts," said Freni. "Employees and authorized contractors drive marked vehicles and carry photo identification, and will always display it upon request. If there is ever any doubt about the authenticity of a contact, whether in person, on line or by phone, customers should call Central Hudson for confirmation." He added that customers may also wish to note caller ID information, license plates or email addresses and report the incident to their local police department.

UUAS is dedicated to combating utility scams by providing a forum for utilities and trade associations to share data and best practices, and to implement initiatives to inform and protect customers. The organization and member companies of more than 100 North American electric, water, and natural gas utilities have helped to shut down more than 2,200 toll-free numbers used by scammers against utility customers. The group was recently awarded the Toll-Free Industry's Fraud Fighter Award in recognition of its advocacy and awareness campaign to stop scams that target electric, water, and natural gas company customers.

Visit www.UtilitiesUnited.org for more information and tips about how customers can protect themselves from scams; visit www.CentralHudson.com/ScamCentral for information and to view a video on spotting and avoiding scams; and follow Central Hudson on social media for notifications about local scam activity: Facebook.com/CentralHudson and www.Twitter.com/CentralHudson.

 

#          #          #

Central Hudson joins Utilities United Against Scams to help expose the tactics scammers use and educate residents and small business owners on how to protect themselves. The following information may help customers to avoid becoming victimized: