Online Staff Report
A recent increase in calls has prompted the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to issue another warning on scam artists that are targeting individual consumers and businesses with the false claims that their utility bills are delinquent and their service is in danger of being disconnected.
The BBB has received calls from concerned consumers and businesses who state they have received calls from individuals claiming to be from ComEd making demands that they immediately make payment on their alleged delinquent accounts.
Paul Callighan, a spokesman for ComEd in Rockford, said, “they have not determined how the scammers are doing it, but they believe they have somehow tied their calls to ComEd’s billing cycle, and an investigation remains under way.”
Additionally, he advises consumers, “ComEd never calls to ask customers to make payment over the phone.” Instead, he says, “we direct them to our secure online payment system or to call in to the automated payment option by phone.”
All callers to the BBB said they were contacted by a male and described him as being demanding, but calm.
Dan Vansickle, owner of Dan’s Collision Headquarters in Machesney Park, says: “I was told ComEd had a truck in the area and could come pick up a check for electricity in 30 minutes. I was told I was $810 behind.” He continued, “That’s funny, because my last bill was just $162, and it’s been paid.” When he was asked for the check number and the bank routing number and would only give the check number, the caller hung up.
Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford office of the BBB, said: “A number of the callers to our office said they were senior citizens, which could mean that seniors are being targeted given that they are most likely to be home at the time these calls are being made. If a consumer receives one of these calls, they should never provide any personal or financial information.”
The BBB also offers the following recommendations for consumers:
• Contact Customer Service — If the consumer’s account may be delinquent, they should contact ComEd’s customer service department and verify that a call was made by ComEd. Call 1-800-EDISON1.
• Stop Payment — If the consumer made any payment, they should immediately contact their financial institution or credit card company to stop payment.
• Contact Authorities — If you suspect that a call is fraudulent or you may be a victim of a scam, contact the Illinois Attorney General’s Office toll-free at 1-800-386-5438 or visit their website at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov. You may also want to contact your local police department.
For more about scams, visit http://www.bbb.org/.
Posted June 6, 2014