With the holiday season quickly approaching, Delmarva Power is reminding people to be on the alert for potential payment scams targeting customers.
Fraudulent activities can occur throughout the year, but the company generally sees an increase in scam reports during the holiday, when shopping and family gatherings are planned. Scammers try to trick customers into providing their personal or financial information and making false payments under the pretense of keeping their service active.
Delmarva Power is joining more than 100 utility companies across the United States and Canada in an effort to protect customers from scams targeting customers of electric, natural gas, water and other utilities. Delmarva Power and its sister Exelon companies, Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, PECO and Pepco are committed to educating customers and putting a stop to scamming.
“The safety and well-being of our customers and the communities we serve is our top priority,” said Morlon Bell-Izzard, vice president of customer operations for Pepco Holdings, which includes Delmarva Power. “Coordinated initiatives such as this are important in our efforts and our partners’ efforts to educate and protect our customers. By understanding the many tips and tactics associated with these scam attempts, customers will have the power to protect themselves and those in their community.”
A scam-targeted customer typically receives an unsolicited phone call from a person who falsely claims to be a company representative. The scammer usually warns that the customer’s service will be terminated if they fail to make a quick payment through a prepaid debit card or other direct payment method.
Scammers have even duplicated the telephone systems 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 company’s phone number.
Red flags for scam activity include the following scenarios: The scammer 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 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 on the card.
Delmarva Power 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 shutoff notifications, never a single notification one hour before disconnection. If a customer ever questions the legitimacy of the call, they should hang up and call Delmarva Power at 800-375-7117.
Customers can avoid being scammed by taking a few precautions: Never provide a Social Security number or personal information to anyone initiating contact and claiming to be a company representative or requesting money be sent to another person or entity other than Delmarva Power. Always ask to see a company photo ID before allowing any Delmarva Power worker into a home or business. Never make a payment for services to anyone coming to the door.
Any customer who believes they have been targeted by a scam is urged to contact their local police and call Delmarva Power immediately at 800-375-7117 to report the situation.