Protect yourself against energy-related scamsJanuary 26, 2021
With people spending more time at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, imposters are taking advantage of ComEd customers who may be alone to rob them of their possessions and financial information. These imposters can show up at small businesses as well as homes.
Since 2017, ComEd has experienced a 60-percent increase in reports of scams and scam attempts into its call center. ComEd reminds customers to be on the lookout for imposters trying to steal from them using energy-related scams.
Common schemes to look out for:
In this latest scam, an individual may pose as an employee from ComEd, another utility or a tree service company. They will lure the resident or small-business owner outside to discuss work that they claim needs to be completed. While the individual is outside, an accomplice will enter the home or business to steal valuables and documents containing the individual’s personal or financial information.
As the COVID-19 pandemic takes a financial toll on families and businesses across northern Illinois, scammers also are increasing their efforts to take advantage of vulnerable customers who may be struggling to pay their bills. During the pandemic, ComEd has received reports of scammers posing as utility representatives who contact customers experiencing difficulty paying their bills. These imposters prey on these customers’ financial situation by falsely threatening to shut off service to obtain money or a customer’s personal, business or financial information.
Another common scheme involves scammers using technology to make their phone calls appear to come from a ComEd phone number and threatening to turn off a customer’s service unless they make a direct payment with a prepaid cash card. Sometimes they ask victims to call back at a different phone number and provide personal information. In other attempts, scammers send emails to businesses and request that they send ComEd payments to bogus payment web sites.
Tips to help identify scams:
ComEd will never come to a customer’s home or business to:
Demand a payment.
Ask for immediate payment with a prepaid cash card.
Ask for their ComEd account number or other personal information, such as a driver’s license number.
ComEd will never call a customer to:
Ask for their account number.
Ask for personal information such as their Social Security number or bank information.
Ask them to make a direct payment with a prepaid cash card.
To identify an actual ComEd employee, remember:
All ComEd field employees wear a uniform with the ComEd logo, including shirt and safety vest.
ComEd employees visibly display a company ID badge with the ComEd logo and employee’s name.
A ComEd worker may knock on a customer’s door if they are unable to access equipment, such as the meter or pedestal transformer. If any customer is unsure whether a visitor or caller is a ComEd employee or believes he or she has been a target or victim of a scam, call 1-800-EDISON-1 (1-800-334-7661) immediately. To learn more, visit ComEd.com/ScamAlert.