Houghtaling & Downey Warn Residents of “Power Shut Off” Phone Scam

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey today warned Monmouth County residents to stay vigilant against phone scammers posing as electric utility companies.

“Just this morning, our legislative office received a robocall from a scam caller posing as a representative of a local electric utility company,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling.

“The caller in question had even utilized a form of spoofing, fooling the caller ID into displaying the utility’s name instead of their own. Fortunately, our staff was able to swiftly contact our electric utility to confirm that all was right with our account and that this call was in fact a scam. No person, business, or organization is immune to these dangerous schemes, and we should all remember to be careful when accepting calls from those that we do not personally know - and especially when those calls request some form of financial transaction.”

“Small businesses are frequently targeted by this widespread scam, in which a caller or robocall poses as a representative of an electric utility company and threatens to shut off the customer's power unless immediate payment is made," said Assemblywoman Downey. "However, a real utility company will never demand such a payment. You should always receive a written notice of your account status if you are behind on payments for your utilities, and you should always be able to make payments through established options. If a caller demands that you make a payment over the phone, in person, or at a particular physical location, take down the caller's name and contact information, hang up, and contact your electric utility directly to report this call and request information about the status of your account."

If you happen to receive one of these calls and are concerned about the status of your utility account, please contact our office at 732-695-3371, and we will be happy to assist you in safely communicating about this issue with your utility provider.

Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey represent New Jersey’s 11th Legislative District in the State Assembly, where they work to make the Garden State more affordable for its hard-working residents. The 11th District includes the Monmouth County municipalities of Allenhurst, Asbury Park, Colts Neck, Deal, Eatontown, Freehold, Freehold Township, Interlaken, Loch Arbour, Long Branch, Neptune City, Neptune, Ocean Township, Red Bank, Shrewsbury Borough, Shrewsbury Township, Tinton Falls and West Long Branch.

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