O&R Warns: Crooks Preying on Public in Bill Payment Fraud
The wolf is always at the door. That’s the best way to describe the latest round of persistent predatory phone calls from crooks trying to steal O&R customers’ money.
The scheme goes this way: Crooks posing as O&R employees call unsuspecting customers and threaten them with the immediate shut off of their electric service during the winter’s most frigid days if they don’t pay phony O&R bills with Green Dot or other prepaid debit cards.
Here are three reasons not to believe any crook who makes a shutoff threat:
- NO DEBIT CARDS - O&R does not accept bill payment for electric and gas utility bills by Green Dot or any other prepaid debit cards. Never has.
- NO IMMEDIATE SHUTOFF - Disconnecting O&R electric or gas service for non-payment of bills involves a multi-step process – including written communications from O&R to the customer over a period of weeks or several days, not hours. That process is regulated by the NYS Public Service Commission and NJ Board of Public Utilities.
- NO SHUTOFF IN DEEP FREEZE – For residential customers only, if the temperature is 32 degrees or lower, O&R will not shut off any customer’s electric or gas service.
So, if someone calls you on a deep-freeze winter day, says they are an O&R employee and threatens to shut off your electric or gas service that day if not immediately paid through a prepaid debit card, hang up the phone. A crook is trying to rob you. And, they won’t stop when you hang up.
Now, the crooks have become even more aggressive. After you hang up on them, they text you to repeat the threat and bring further pressure on you to pay. Ignore them.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from O&R or Rockland Electric stating that a payment is required within hours and threatening to immediately shut off your service, O&R urges you to:
- Hang Up – Disengage so you’re not further subjected to the crook’s high-pressure “sales pitch.”
- Text Trouble – After you hang up on them, the more aggressive crooks will try to repeat their shutoff threat by texting you. Ignore the threat. They are crooks.
- Don’t Hit “REDIAL” – The caller ID screen on your phone for the crook’s call may read “Orange and Rockland Utilities”, but that’s a hi-tech bogus copy of the utility company’s number. That’s not O&R. Do not redial, and don’t call the number that the caller gives you to call them back. That will reconnect you to the crook.
- Fast Track - If you are unsure about whether you have an overdue balance on your O&R bill, the fastest way to find out is to call O&R’s automated phone system at 1-877-434-4100. Have your Orange and Rockland account number ready and follow the automated phone prompts to check your balance, or log onto your account through ORU.com. to see your latest account information.
Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies. O&R is a regulated utility. It provides electric service to approximately 300,000 customers in southeastern New York State (where its franchise name is Orange & Rockland) and northern New Jersey (where it is Rockland Electric Company) and natural gas service to approximately 130,000 customers in New York.
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