Beware ComEd impostors, electric-bill scams as temperatures rise

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As summer starts to heat up, so do the scams related to your electric bill.

ComEd says there will be a rise in fraud attempts from impostors telling customers that their service will be shut off. This is something that can really frighten people, as temperatures start to rise and the need for air conditioning grows.

There are several tactics being used to by scammers who want you to think they are ComEd reps. One is where they use spoofing technology to pretend to be calling from ComEd offices.

"Scammers calling our customers saying they are calling on behalf of ComEd, they are going to disconnect them unless they pay them immediately. 'Run out and get a prepaid card. Call me back at a number and give me a card number and you'll be safe.' Only that's not ComEd calling, that's scammer calling," said Christine Brinkman, ComEd's vice president of customer operations.

But ComEd doesn't ask people to make payments with prepaid cash cards and they will not call to ask for immediate payment. But Brinkman said the company may send a letter to a customer to let them know that their payment is late.

Some electric company impersonators will visit customers at home, asking for payment at the door. But she explained that ComEd will never come knocking and ask for money. They will not ask for your social security number or other personal information.

While anyone can fall victim to this type of scam, people behind on their bills or medically-dependent on electricity may be more vulnerable.

"It can be someone that is current on the bill. If you are in a household where you may not control the bills, you may not be paying the bills, and you think your husband, wife or roommate has paid the bill, you're not sure and they're coming and saying, 'We're going to disconnect you.' There are customers that will feel that fear that my power's going to get disconnected and they'll run out and go get the prepaid card," Brinkman said.

Brinkman also gave this piece of advice: to figure out if you're really talking to someone from ComEd, hang up and call direct.

If you think you have been a victim of someone pretending to be a ComEd representative, the company wants to hear from you.

Customers should also visit the scam alert page on ComEd's website: poweringlives.comed.com.
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