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March 6, 2017
For Release: Immediately
Central Hudson Supports National Consumer Protection Week

Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation joins the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and utility companies across North America in promoting National Consumer Protection Week, recognized this year from March 5 through 11.

According to the FTC, National Consumer Protection Week is held to help individuals understand their consumer rights and make well-informed decisions about their money. They state that “scammers use clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year, often combining sophisticated technology with age-old tricks to convince people into sending money or sharing personal information. They add new twists to old schemes and pressure people to make important decisions on the spot.” 

Central Hudson is a member of Utilities United Against Scams, a public awareness campaign led by electric, natural gas, and water companies together with the American Gas Association and Edison Electric Institute, to safeguard customers from fraud by individuals impersonating utility representatives. Working with the FTC in promoting National Consumer Protection Week, Central Hudson and other utility companies are highlighting this important initiative by alerting customers of bill payment scams perpetuated by thieves attempting to steal from residents and businesses.

“We want to help our customers recognize signs of a potential scam and to avoid becoming victimized,” said Charles A. Freni, Senior Vice President of Customer Services and Transmission & Distribution Operations. “If ever concerned about a call, email or in-person visit, our customers should call Central Hudson at (845) 452-2700 or 1-800-527-2714 and ask for verification.”

Central Hudson recently reported impersonators targeting customers by telephone stating that if an immediate payment is not made, services will be disconnected. The caller then directs a payment toward their utility bill using a prepaid card purchased at a pharmacy or convenience store. In this particular scam, the caller identification (or ‘Caller ID’) number appearing on the victim’s telephone mimics that of Central Hudson, and the caller also provides a telephone number for a return call, which when reached utilizes a re-recording of Central Hudson’s upfront message.

Other reported scams include emails from impersonators posing as a utility company requesting a bill payment and personal information; calls by perpetrators claiming to be with a national collection agency working on behalf of Central Hudson, attempting to obtain a payment over the phone by credit card; and thieves posing as utility employees attempting to collect payments for utility bills in person.

“Central Hudson employees and authorized contractors drive marked vehicles and carry photo identification, and will always display it upon request,” said Freni. “Also, Central Hudson does not use email to obtain payments or personal information, and customers should be wary of any attempting to secure this information. Do not click on any links nor reply to these emails,” he said.

For more information and tips on avoiding scams, visit the FTC website at www.Consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts, or Central Hudson’s website at www.CentralHudson.com/scamcentral.

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Central Hudson, the Federal Trade Commission and Utilities United Against Scams urge customers to know the signs of scammers to avoid becoming victimized: