As part of International Fraud Awareness Week, Nov. 13-19, and Utility Scam Awareness Day, Nov. 16, Pepco is joining Utilities United Against Scams and more than 100 U.S. and Canadian energy companies to help customers stay vigilant and fight off imposters using energy-related scams to steal money and personal information.
Scams occur throughout the year, but we generally see an increase in attempted scam reports during the holiday season. Scammers take advantage of their victim’s stress and higher than usual activity levels that come with the holiday season to trick customers into providing their personal or financial information and making false payments under the pretense of keeping their service active. Scammers are also attempting to take advantage of those still facing economic challenges while recovering from the impacts of the pandemic to pressure families and businesses who may be struggling with past-due balances.
Common schemes involve scammers’ use of technology to replicate a company’s phone number through caller ID—also known as “spoofing”—threatening to turn off a customer’s service unless they make a direct payment with a prepaid cash card.
If you receive a suspicious call from a possible scammer, remember the following tips:
- Slow down. Scammers typically try to rush customers and will ask for personal information and immediate payment.
- Verify. Scammers often pose as utility company employees. If the scammer is on the phone, make sure they can verify they are with Pepco or can verify your account information. If you are unsure, hang up and contact us directly at 202-833-7500. Customers with an online MyAccount can also confirm their account information anytime online.
- Stop before you act. Think about the information the caller is asking of you. If it seems unsafe or incorrect, rethink the situation and ask questions.
Some scams involve imposters posing as Pepco employees to enter a customer’s home to steal belongings. To identify an actual Pepco employee, remember, all field employees wear a uniform with the company logo, including shirt and safety vest, and employees visibly display a company ID badge with the company logo and employee’s name.
Commercial customers are also advised to protect themselves from potential scam attempts. These offenders impersonate Pepco and other trusted organizations through email or other forms of communications to deceive businesses into providing financial information or making an urgent payment. Employees at local businesses should carefully review emails originating from outside your organization’s network, check the name of the sender and business and make sure it matches the name and business in the email address, and look for misspellings or slight alterations.
Any customer who believes they have been a target of a scam is urged to contact their local police and call Pepco immediately at 202-833-7500 to report the situation.