Attorney General Kilmartin Warns Consumers of National Grid Payment Scam
The Consumer Protection Unit of the Office of Attorney General has received numerous phone calls from business owners and homeowners who have contacted by someone claiming to be from National Grid demanding immediate payment for overdue bills. This is a SCAM!
Kilmartin and National Grid remind business owners and all residents that National Grid may contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options, but NATIONAL GRID NEVER demands direct payment over the telephone.
Customers have reported receiving calls demanding immediate payment and are asked to wire money using a "Green Dot" card or for bank account information.
If you have received one of these calls, HANG UP and contact National Grid immediately at National Grid's Customer Contact Center at 1-800-322-3223.
The Consumer Protection Unit investigates and mediates consumer complaints concerning unfair and unlawful business practices and misleading advertising arising out of alleged violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. If groups of people are victimized by a deceptive trade practice, the Attorney General may file a Civil Investigative Demand in Superior Court commencing a formal investigation. In appropriate cases, a lawsuit to stop the illegal business practice may be initiated.
Consumers who purchased computers, printers, video game consoles or other electronic devices with DRAM memory from 1998-2002 may be eligible for money from settlements.
For more information, visit www.DRAMclaims.com or call 1-800-589-1425.
Apart from carrying out its statutory responsibilities, the Unit also provides information and referral services to the general public. Consumers are directed to the appropriate governmental or private agencies for help in answering specialized questions or resolving disputes that are not within the Unit's jurisdiction.
The Unit conducted approximately 155 outreach presentations to senior centers, community groups and organizations throughout Rhode Island in an effort to educate and protect consumers from scam artists.
In addition, nearly 20 consumer alerts and advisories were issued during 2012, covering such topics as mortgage modification scams, disaster relief scams, phishing scams, fake invoices, employment scams, consumer settlements and holiday shopping tips.
In 2012, the Unit responded to more than 4,501 telephone calls, 1,156 written complaints, 1,033 e-mail inquiries and 127 walk-ins. The Unit recovered $854,423 on behalf of individual consumers. The Unit referred 503 consumer complaints to other agencies. The Unit also registered telemarketers resulting in $3,500 and health clubs resulting in $2,550 in fees for the state during 2012.
For a second year, the Office participated in National Consumer Protection Week, March 4-10, 2012. The Office partnered with Doc Shredding Corp. and provided seven free shredding events throughout Rhode Island in an attempt to provide a safe way for consumers to discard documents and avoid possible identity theft issues.
In August, the Office introduced the online consumer complaint form which allows consumers to type in their complaint and submit it directly to the Unit without having to print it out, fill it out and send it back to the Office.