Prompted by a recent upswing in incidents involving con artists impersonating ComEd workers, the utility is alerting its customers to be wary of gimmicks and schemes that could cost them money and valuable personal information.
“Last year, ComEd received 13 reports of impersonation incidents,” Kevin Brookins, senior vice president of strategy and administration for ComEd, said in a news release. “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 items such as a hard hat, a shirt bearing a utility company logo or a generic orange safety vest. In other instances, the culprits executed scams 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. 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 the police, Brookins said.
“Safety is our most important value at ComEd and we are very concerned about the safety of our customers,” Brookins said. “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 customers take the following safety precautions:
- Always ask to see a company photo ID before allowing any utility worker into your home or business.
- Be skeptical of individuals 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.