Don’t Fall for Utility Imposters
June 23, 2021
Around the country, utility customers continue to be the target of criminal schemes utilizing door-to-door visits, phone calls, emails and social media.
Often, these scams threaten customers with immediate disconnection if an “overdue” balance is not paid right away – even if no overdue balance really exists. They also usually insist on payment through means that are untraceable, such as pre-paid money cards or gift cards to online retailers like Amazon and Google Play.
Don’t let utility imposters get the better of you, your family or your friends.
“FirstEnergy customers who are behind on their accounts are provided written notices of a possible disconnection and how to prevent it. Our Customer Service representatives will not call or email to demand immediate payment to avoid a same-day shutoff,” said Jason McCormick, supervisor, Cyber Security.
While our representatives sometimes make courtesy calls to customers to remind them about an outstanding balance, they explain how a payment can be made using ordinary payment options such as a credit card or mailing a check. We never require pre-paid money cards or gift cards as the only acceptable means of payment.
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Jason emphasized that, “The best way to make sure any contact is not a scam is to get in touch with the real company through a phone number known to be valid, such the customer service number on the company’s bill, to verify the caller’s claim.”
Also, keep in mind these important safety reminders:
- Scammers often use Caller ID spoofing software to misrepresent the source of a phone call to further mislead and confuse their targets. They also provide phony call-back numbers with greetings and hold messages that mimic legitimate businesses. If you have any doubts about the status of your electric service account, verify it by calling the true customer service number for your FirstEnergy operating company or by logging into your online account.
- FirstEnergy employees do not contact customers to request sensitive information such as Social Security numbers or bank account information.
- FirstEnergy field collectors working in New Jersey, Maryland and Ohio – carrying company-issued photo identification – will offer customers with past-due accounts the opportunity to pay their bill in person before shutting them off.
- Do not allow anyone claiming to be a utility employee into your home unless you scheduled an appointment and the employee has provided proper identification. FirstEnergy utility employees always carry photo identification.
- Our utilities offer a wide array of approved billing and payment options. Only send payments to your FirstEnergy operating company, and never use a payment account provided to you by an unknown individual.
- Our alert services can help you keep track of the amount and timing of your bill, and our eBill payment option can help ensure your account is always paid on time.
For your safety and security, stay vigilant against con artists who claim to be associated with our company – or any utility. Known scam alerts and more tips to spot and stop swindlers are available at www.firstenergycorp.com/scaminfo. Consider sharing this link with family and friends to help them learn to protect themselves, too.
“The best way to make sure any contact is not a scam is to get in touch with the real company through a phone number known to be valid, such as the customer service number on the company’s bill, to verify the caller’s claim.”
– Jason McCormick, supervisor, Cyber Security