ComEd warns customers of impersonation scams
Updated: March 29, 2012 3:36PM
Prompted by a recent upswing in incidents involving scam artists impersonating Commonwealth Edison workers, the utility is alerting customers to be wary of schemes that could cost them money and valuable personal information, a news release stated.
“Last year, ComEd received 13 reports of impersonation incidents,” said Kevin Brookins, senior vice president, strategy and administration, ComEd. “In just the past two months of this year, we’ve already received 28 reports of customers who have been lured into disclosing credit card information, handing over money to scam artists or allowing an impersonator to enter their homes.”
In many of the reported cases the impersonators identified themselves as a utility employee. Some of the perpetrators wore clothing, such as a hard hat, items bearing a utility-company logo or a generic orange safety vest. In other instances the culprits executed the scam in plain clothes.
In one recently reported case a culprit posing as a ComEd representative contacted a customer by phone, claimed that the billing cycle had changed and requested credit-card information to settle the customer’s electric bill, the news release stated. Other incidents have included scammers asking customers for money to fix parts on their meter and threatening to shut off power if they didn’t hand over cash to fix parts on the customer’s circuit breaker.
Customers who believe they’re a victim of a scam should report the incident to police, Brookins said.
“Safety is our most important value at ComEd and we are very concerned about the safety of our customers,” Brookins added. “That’s why we want the public to be aware that ComEd employees always carry proper identification and that they’ll never ask customers for cash or personal banking information. Customers also can verify if a ComEd worker is in the area by contacting us at 1-800-EDISON-1.”
To help guard against impersonations ComEd recommends that customers:
• always ask to see a company photo ID before allowing any utility worker into their home or business.
• be skeptical of anyone wearing clothing with old or defaced company logos. If you have any doubts, ask to see a company photo ID.
• never pay on-site for services. ComEd employees never ask for cash payments or personal banking information.
• remember that ComEd employees do not engage in door-to-door sales or telemarketing activities with customers.