O&R Warns of Crooks Calling in Bill Payment Fraud
Orange & Rockland customers are being hounded by a new round of persistent predatory phone calls today from phony bill collectors trying to steal their money. The scheme goes this way: individuals posing as O&R employees call unsuspecting customers and threaten them with the immediate shut off of their electric service if they don’t pay phony O&R bills with Green Dot or other prepaid debit cards.
Here are two big 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 several days, or even weeks --- not hours. That process is regulated by the NYS Public Service Commission and NJ Board of Public Utilities.
So, if someone calls you, saying 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, here’s what you should do:
- Hang Up – Disengage so you’re not further subjected to the fraudulent high-pressure “sales pitch.”
- Text Trouble – After you hang up on them, the more aggressive predatory callers will try to repeat their shutoff threat by texting you. Ignore the threat.
- Don’t Hit “REDIAL” – The caller ID screen on your phone for the phony bill collector’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 log onto your account through ORU.com to review your latest account information. You also can 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.
Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R), a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, is a regulated utility. O&R 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 known as Rockland Electric Company), and natural gas service to approximately 130,000 customers in New York.