Delmarva Power is joining more than 100 energy companies across the United States and Canada in the effort to protect customers from scams targeting customers of electric, natural gas, water, and other utilities.
Collaborating energy companies joined together for a third year and designated Nov. 14 as “Utilities United Against Scams Day.” This day is supported by a week-long campaign, including social media and online content, focused on exposing the tricks scammers use to steal money from customers, and how customers can protect themselves. The effort, which includes industry member organizations such as Edison Electric Institute and American Gas Association, encourages companies to share these messages to help guard against scam and imposter activity.
“This type of coordinated teamwork is vital for the safety and well-being of our customers and the communities we serve,” said Mike Poncia, vice president of Customer Operations for Pepco Holdings, which includes Delmarva Power. “We can help provide our customers with the tools they need to guard against scammers and imposters who may be on the other end of the line or other side of the door by sharing these essential tips and information throughout the region.”
When being scammed, a customer typically receives an unsolicited phone call from an individual who falsely claims to be a company representative. The scammer warns that the customer’s service will be shut off if they fail to make a payment – usually within a short timeframe through a prepaid debit card.
Scammers have even duplicated the upfront Interactive Voice Response system of some companies, so when customers call the number provided by the scammer, it sounds like a legitimate business. Some scammers also use caller ID “spoofing” to replicate a utility’s phone number.
Red flags for scam activity
- The scammer often becomes angry and tells a customer his or her account is past due and service will be shut off if a large payment isn’t made – usually within less than an hour.
- The scammer instructs the customer to purchase a prepaid debit or credit card – widely available at most retail stores – then call him or her back to make a payment.
- The scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number, which grants instant access to the funds loaded to the card.
Keep in mind
- Utility representatives will never ask or require a customer with a past due balance to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
- Customers can make payments online, by phone, automatic bank withdrawal, mail, or in person.
- Customers with a past due balance will receive multiple shut off notifications – never a single notification one hour before disconnection.
- If a customer ever questions the legitimacy of the call, hang up and call Delmarva Power at 1-800-375-7117.
- Never provide your social security number or personal information to anyone initiating contact with you claiming to be a utility representative or requesting you to send money to another person or entity other than your local utility providers.
- Always ask to see a company photo ID before allowing any utility worker into your home or business.
- Never make a payment for services to anyone coming to your door.
Any Delmarva Power customer who believes he or she has been a target of a scam is urged to contact their local police and call the company immediately at 1-800-375-7117 to report the situation.