New York State Electric and Gas says customers may be able to catch the latest scammers using the utility's name by turning the tables on them.

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One way people can tell if it really is a person from the utility is to ask THEM for the last five digits of your account. If they don’t have that information, they’re a crook and you should call authorities.

Customers have recently reported getting calls from people saying they are consultants for NYSEG, some with a corresponding forged caller ID, while others have said they were threatened with having their service cut off unless an immediate payment is made over the phone with a prepaid debit card like “Green Dot.”  NYSEG says it’s a scam and customers should never give out personal or account information to unsolicited callers.

Officials say, particularly disturbing is that sometimes the caller seems to have specific knowledge about the customers they are calling and will provide a callback number that spoofs a recorded greeting similar to the one that is really on the company customer service line.

NYSEG says it provides advance notice before terminating a customer’s service for non-payment and do not perform shut-offs when the Customer Service Center is closed.