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Electricity Demand, Scams Rise at the Shore

Bone-chilling cold spurs a huge demand for electricity – and that sparks a plea for conservation from operators of PJM Interconnection.

Perry Mastrovito, Getty Images

The organization manages wholesale current for all or part of 13 eastern states including New Jersey. According to the Associated Press, operators have placed generating stations on notice to be ready to supply emergency power, while asking consumers to conserve energy as much as possible between 3 and 7 PM.

It also turns out to be ideal weather for unwary home and business owners to fall victim to electric-bill scammers. Lakewood police tell us that a Clifton Avenue shop owner took the bait Monday.

Methodology remains the same: Someone calls, often claiming to represent Jersey Central Power and Light here at the shore, threatening to cut off power unless money is handed over to rectify a delinquent bill.

Lakewood police say that the Clifton Avenue store owner acceded to the demand, sending $500 through a Green Dot Moneypak.

It was the second phone demand, for more money, that prompted the call to authorities.

Police also say that the bail-money scam is resurfacing. Potential victims receive calls from scammers masquerading as law enforcement or defense attorneys, indicating that a relative is in deep legal trouble far away and needs money to be let out of incarceration.

And, for good measure, the computer scam has also returned. A thief, sometimes claiming to work for outfits such as Geek Squad, indicates that either your PC or one belonging to someone in the household is pulling in viruses, and offers to purge the system.

Victims part with enough personal information to allow scammers to hack into your actual system, pulling tons of personal data and leaving bank and credit card accounts vulnerable.

In any case such as these, hang up and call local police or your county Prosecutor’s Office.


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