ISLIP - An Islip salon owner says she narrowly avoided victimization when a person claiming to represent PSEG approached her with a scam.
Laura Vecchio says the would-be scammer told her that she'd have to pay $500 to install a new meter or risk losing her power.
The man called in the middle of a busy day and claimed to be the general manager of PSEG, Vecchio says. He told her that she could lose electricity in as little as a half hour if she didn't comply.
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Vecchio says the man instructed her to purchase a pre-paid Visa card from a 7-Eleven, then call him with the numbers on the card to make the payment. That's when she says she began to suspect a scam.
"He didn't ask for a check," Vecchio says. "He didn't ask to pay by credit card over the phone. He wanted me to go to a 7-Eleven and get a pre-paid card, which honestly I didn't know they existed."
PSEG confirmed that Vecchio was the target of a scam artist.
The company would never threaten to shut off power on first notice regarding a payment issue, says Jeffrey Weir, a spokesman.
"That would never be the first notification," Weir says. "So that should be a red flag immediately."
Vecchio says her initial shock has now led her to try and help other people before they are targeted by the same scam.
"Anyone that calls you on the phone and tells you to pay anything up front, just hang up the phone, because it's a scam," Vecchio says.
PSEG also says that the company does not charge customers for its new meters. If you receive a suspicious call, PSEG says take down the name and number of the caller and notify the company.