A new attempt at phishing out private bank information is hitting many area residents, with emails sent that appear to be from utility companies.
Hillsborough resident Diane Jones received such a message, but as a retired employee of the company, she knew it was bogus.
"When I got two of them—two days worth—I forwarded them right over to the company," she said, adding the message appeared to be from PSE&G at first glance but was actually from "PgE." "I thought it was something from them until I read it—they told me I owed over $334 for the last bill and I had to pay it. I've never had a bill that high from PSEG."
Unfortunately, Public Service Electric and Gas Co. said a number of its customers in the area have been getting the bogus utility bill emails.
The emails look like a pending utility bill with a link to view account information. PSE&G said other utilities across the country have also recently reported similar scams.
The key is to avoid clicking on links or attachments contained in the message: it may indicate you'll be taken to your account information page. Instead, you may end up on a site capable of stealing passwords and account information.
PSE&G also noted bill sent to our customers would be sent from "firstname.lastname@example.org" and the company would not ask its customers to provide personal information online without first logging into MyAccount on the company website.
“Reports of cyber-crime are on the rise, and we want to ensure that no PSE&G customer becomes a victim,” Joseph A. Forline, vice president of customer solutions for PSE&G, said. “We urge our customers to be cautious when opening email. It’s always a safe practice to go directly to our website to log into your account, rather than clicking on a link in an email.”
PSE&G customers who may have been the victim of a scam can call the company's 24-hour customer service center at 1-800-436-PSEG.