Be On The Lookout For Imposters

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Roslyn_WebLogoGray2BY JOE SCOTCHIE
jscotchie@antonmediagroup.com
Summer is here and that often means the knock on the front door. Officials with the Village of East Hills are warning residents to be especially vigilant when anyone identifying themselves as a National Grid employee comes knocking.
In a letter to East Hills residents, Mayor Michael R. Koblenz noted that a local homeowner reported to village hall that a man rang her doorbell, identifying himself as a National Grid employee. The man told the homeowner that there was a gas leak nearby and asked to enter her house to see the meter. The resident declined, shut the door, told him the meter was outside and then called the police. After being contacted by the resident, National Grid officials confirmed the individual was not their employee.
This, according to village officials, has been the only such incident to occur concerning someone identifying themselves as a National Grid employee.
Still, National Grid officials have been glad to issue the following message to village residents:
• Every National Grid employee carries a photo ID card, and any contractor doing work for the company is also required to carry a National Grid ID.
• If someone requesting entry into your home or place of business does not show an ID card, don’t let them in.
Phone Numbers: Call National Grid at 1-800-930-5003 for Nassau, Suffolk County and the Rockaway Peninsula. 718-643-4050 for Brooklyn, Staten Island and parts of Queens.
• If customers feel there is an immediate danger, they should call 911.
In addition, National Grid has the following operating procedures currently in place for our service technicians and meter readers should they require access to customers’ homes:
• National Grid employees and contractors have visible photo identification badges with the company logo and wear uniforms with the company name and logo when conducting routine or emergency services for residences and businesses. They also travel in clearly marked National Grid vehicles.
• An approximate date of the forthcoming meter reading is included in the bill.
• Meter readers, while company contractors, also carry company identification, and their uniforms, hats and vehicles are co-branded.
• For scheduled appointments, service technicians will call customers in advance.
• When investigating a leak or some other issue of concern, the service technician may be led to a home or business that did not report it, but will always be traveling in clearly marked National Grid vehicles, and wearing hats and vests with the company’s logo. Phone scams by people identifying themselves as utility company employees demanding immediate payment for bill balances. The fraudulent callers threaten customers with immediate service shut-off unless they provide payment, credit card or bank account information that can be used to access the accounts.
• National Grid does contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options and to remind them that service shutoff is a possibility if they fail to pay their past due balance.
• Customers should have the last five digits of their National Grid account number and ask the caller to provide those numbers. If the caller can’t provide the information; or the customer has any doubt the caller is a National Grid representative, they should hang up immediately and call the customer contact center. National Grid urges customers to be cautious when speaking with callers. Never arrange payment or divulge account, personal or financial information over the telephone, unless you are certain that you are speaking with an authorize.
National Grid officials are also asking local residents to call its Public Safety Department at 516-484-7052 for any further information

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Joe Scotchie is the editor of both The Roslyn News and New Hyde Park Illustrated News. In 2009, he won a New York State Press Association award for a sports feature. Joseph Scotchie’s past publications include biographies of Thomas Wolfe and Richard Weaver and a comprehensive history of the city of Asheville, North Carolina.

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