Delmarva Power recently partnered, for the second year in a row, with electric and natural gas utility companies across the U.S. and Canada to help provide information that can help utility customers avoid being scammed.
Delmarva Power, and the other Exelon utilities, BGE, ComEd, Atlantic City Electric, PECO and Pepco, are committed to educating customers and putting a stop to scamming.
The collaborating energy companies have joined together again this year and designated Nov. 15 as “Utilities United Against Scams Day.” This day will be supported by a week-long campaign with content, online and on social media channels, focused on exposing the tricks scammers use to steal money from customers, and how customers can protect themselves. The effort, which includes utility member organizations such as Edison Electric Institute and American Gas Association, encourages utilities to share these messages to help guard against scam activity.
When being scammed, a customer typically receives an unsolicited phone call from an individual who falsely claims to be a utility representative. The scammer warns that the customer’s service will be shut off if the customer fails to make a payment – usually within a short timeframe through a prepaid debit card.
Scammers have even duplicated the upfront interactive voice response system of some utilities, so when customers call the number provided by the scammer, it sounds like a legitimate business. Some of these scammers also use caller ID spoofing to replicate a utility’s phone number.
Red flags for scam activity include:
— The scammer often becomes angry and tells a customer his or her account is past due and service will be shut off if a large payment isn’t made, usually within less than an hour.
— The scammer instructs the customer to purchase a prepaid debit or credit card, widely available at most retail stores, then call him or her back to supposedly make a payment.
— The scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number, which grants instant access to the funds loaded to the card.
Delmarva Power offers these tips to avoid scams:
— Utility representatives will never ask or require a customer with a past due balance to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
— Customers can make payments online, by phone, automatic bank withdrawal, mail or in person.
— Customers with a past due balance will receive multiple shut off notifications — never a single notification one hour before disconnection.
— If a customer ever questions the legitimacy of the call, hang up and call Delmarva Power at 800-375-7117.
— Never provide Social Security numbers or personal information to anyone initiating contact claiming to be a utility representative or requesting money to another person or entity other than local utility providers.
— Always ask to see a company photo ID before allowing any utility worker into a home or business.
— When in doubt, check it out. Be skeptical of individuals wearing clothing with old or defaced company logos. If there are any doubts, ask to see a company photo ID.
— Never make payment for services to anyone coming to the door.
Any Delmarva Power customer who believes he or she has been a target of a scam is urged to contact their local police, and call the company immediately at 800-375-7117 to report the situation.