Online Staff Report
CHICAGO — ComEd is warning residential and business customers to be on the alert for scam artists claiming to be a ComEd representative seeking payment.
Over the last few weeks, the company has seen an increase in reports of individuals calling both residential and business customers falsely claiming to be ComEd representatives and telling the customer their service will be disconnected unless payment is made. They instruct the individual to buy a prepaid credit card and call them back with the personal identification number (PIN). Variations of the scam include stories that the customer’s billing cycle has changed and payment is needed immediately, or that the account is past due and immediate payment is required to avoid disconnection of service, or that the customer’s previous payments were not accepted or processed.
“ComEd wants to protect all of its customers from these types of deceptive schemes. ComEd will never ask a customer to purchase a prepaid credit card to make a payment on a bill,” said Val Jensen, senior vice president of Customer Operations for ComEd. “If customers have concerns about the status of their account, they can call us at 1-800-EDISON1 and a representative will be happy to review the account.”
The Illinois Commerce Commission is advising customers that in most cases utilities are required to provide advance notice prior to disconnection of service, and when in doubt, customers should call the utility or visit its website to verify their account status and the utility’s authorized payment methods.
People who believe they have been a target of a phone scam are urged to contact the Illinois Attorney General’s office toll-free at 1-800-386-5438 (TTY 1-800-964-3013) or visit the Illinois Attorney General’s website at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov and click on the link “Protecting Consumers.”
ComEd reminds its customers that scammers may call or come to your home or business. Representatives from ComEd always carry proper identification and never ask customers for cash or personal financial information.
In addition, ComEd indicates they will never call a customer and ask them to immediately pay an outstanding electric bill over the phone to avoid an interruption of service. Customers that are scheduled for disconnection due to a past due balance will receive an automated phone call days prior the disconnection stating the amount owed to avoid service interruption. Additionally, through mail, customers will receive a hard-copy disconnection notice in compliance with the Illinois Administrative Code.
Customers can avoid being scammed by taking a few precautions:
• Never provide Social Security or personal information to anyone initiating contact with you claiming to be a ComEd representative or requesting you to send money to another person or entity other than ComEd.
• Always ask to see a company photo ID before allowing any utility worker into your home or business.
• When in doubt, check it out. 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 make payment for services to anyone coming to the door.
Posted June 13, 2014