Feb. 26, 2014 By Michael Florio
The police are warning residents to be on the alert for a Con Ed scam.
Deputy Inspector Kevin Maloney, who spoke at the police precinct 114 meeting in Astoria last night, said that there has been an uptick in the number of cases where swindlers claiming to be from Con Ed have been calling residents/business owners requiring bogus payments.
The scammers claim that the victims have overdue electric bills that need to be paid off fast. They instruct them to go to a local store and purchase a green dot money card (which is like a prepaid debit cards) and then read the number back to them to settle the bill.
“We have had over $10,000 taken in these green dot scams,” Deputy Inspector Maloney said. “They are very convincing these people.”
In neighboring Long Island City, Captain Brian Hennessy, of the 108 police precinct, also warned residents to be wary of Con Ed scams and noted that they had been on the increase there too.
Meanwhile, Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley, said last week that he had received many complaints about aggressive phone calls from people claiming to be calling from Con Ed.
Maloney said the scammers appear to be using an iPhone app that allows them to not only disguise their number, but have it appear as though they are calling from the bona fide company.
Hennessy said that there have been some egregious cases.
He said that sometimes the victim would provide the scammer with the green dot card number, only to be called later that the green dot number did not work. However, it did work and the victim just lost more money.
These scams are not just limited to phony Con Ed bills. Some of the scammers claim to be from a police precinct or the FBI.
The crime is hard to track as once the scammers receive the money they change their phone number, Maloney said.