Conn. AG warns of utility scam

By Bryan Cohen | Mar 11, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and Consumer Counsel Elin Katz warned consumers on Friday about a utility scam in which a utility company switches consumers to a different supplier without their permission.

Jepsen and Katz urged consumers to be cautious when they receive a sales call from an electric supplier asking for account data over the phone. Consumers who give their United Illuminating or Connecticut Light and Power Company account numbers over the phone or to a door-to-door salesperson may be switched to a different supplier without their knowledge or permission.

"Consumers should always be wary about providing personal or financial information, including account numbers, over the phone," Jepsen said. "While we regularly receive complaints about spoofing - where the caller has deliberately falsified their telephone number or caller ID information - these new complaints are particularly concerning given the widespread issues we're investigating about high electric rates from some alternative suppliers."

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority is looking into the complaints. Katz and Jepsen are active participants in a PURA proceeding that will establish rules and guidelines for electric suppliers.

"We know that a large number of customers are currently seeking new suppliers to avoid exorbitantly high rates, and we urge consumers to be extra vigilant about disclosing their account information unless they're absolutely sure they understand and want to accept the plan they're discussing," Jepsen said.

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