Even as the utility may be getting calls for air conditioning issues this time of year, Public Service Electric & Gas said malicious actors are "turning up the heat" on their unwitting customers.

PSE&G is making it a priority to educate its New Jersey users as a "Summer of Scams" continues.

Spokesperson Rebecca Mazzarella said fraudsters are always adapting the ways they cheat people out of money, and it's important for customers in the Garden State to look out for red flags.

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"Scammers will use any possible hook or angle to kind of pull at your heartstrings and then have people take immediate action, because perhaps they don't know their current account status," Mazzarella said. "Often, people will pretend to be a PSE&G employee, and they even show up on your caller ID that they're calling from our customer service line."

If there is any uncertainty as to whether a person presenting themselves as a PSE&G worker is legitimate, either on the phone or in person, Mazzarella said customers should call the phone number on their bill.

The company has also issued tips on how to identify their employees, who may show up unexpectedly to check meters, investigate a gas leak, or do a field inspection.

"PSE&G will never threaten to turn off your power or utility service within an hour," Mazzarella said. "We typically communicate with our customers in writing two weeks beforehand, and we never demand immediate payment."

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That threat of payment could have specific parameters, which Mazzarella said is another red flag.

"The scammer may require a certain kind of payment, whether it's Bitcoin or gift cards," she said. "PSE&G accepts many different types of payment without the result of a threat."

Aside from contacting or checking with PSE&G, Mazzarella said residents should "absolutely" file a police report if they believe they have been victimized, and especially if they've lost money.

Otherwise, she recommends staying up to date on bills and knowing the current status of any accounts.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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