WGL officials warn of utility scam

ALBANY — Scammers, always looking for a new way to steal victims’ money, are targeting customers of the city’s Water, Gas & Light utility.

Lorie Farkas, WG&L’s assistant general manager for customer relations and marketing, said Wednesday afternoon customers should beware of calls harassing them about paying late utility bills.

“It’s a scam,” Farkas said. “We never make phone calls to our customers at night, and we do not threaten people. If anyone gets a threatening call from someone claiming to be from Water, Gas & Light, they should tell the person they are reporting them to police and hang up. And, as has been said over and over, no one should ever give out personal information over the telephone.”

Farkas said she got a call from a customer who said she’d received a scam call from a man who told her she owed a significant WG&L bill and that her utilities would be cut off that night if she did not give him access to her charge card so that he could withdraw enough money to cover the amount owed.

“Unfortunately, we’ve heard that someone actually gave him her card number,” the WG&L executive said. “This particular scammer has obviously bought a local phone list with an elderly demographic. That’s just the lowest kind of person. It’s not like the elderly don’t have enough to deal with already.”

Farkas encouraged customers who received such calls to immediately hang up the phone and alert authorities.