ComEd warns of increase in utility scams as customers continue to stay home due to COVID-19

CHICAGO (WLS) -- ComEd is issuing an important warning for its customers.

They say, if you get a call, text or email from someone claiming to be from company, you'd better check twice.

Criminals are trying to capitalize on more people staying at home, and are trying to scare consumers by threatening to disconnect services if you don't pay up or that they'll give you a credit if you pay your bill in advance.

ComEd says, in some cases, their cruel tactics are working.

No one wants their electricity cut off, especially during a global pandemic when you're spending much more time at home, and it's that fear that scammers are preying on. They are trying to dupe ComEd customers out of their cash and personal information.

"What's changed is there are a lot more customers in financial hardship given the state of the economy. So, scammers are taking advantage of that," said Jane Park, Senior VP for Customer Operations at ComEd. "In a time of COVID, we've seen a lot of heroes in our community, but we've also seen people who are going out of their way to prey upon those who are in trouble."

In many cases, the scammer pretend to be a ComEd representatives and inform you that your service will be disconnected unless you make a payment. If you tell them you've already paid your bill, they might say that your payment didn't go through.

They may even ask you for cash, or try to get you to buy and send gift cards -- which is a huge red flags and arguably one of the most harmful ploys. Their goal is to get your personal information, like your social security number.

"First know that for ComEd we will never show up at your business or your home and demand payment," Park said. "I gotta say, bottom line, never provide or confirm your personal or financial information to anyone initiating contact out to you and claiming to be on behalf of ComEd, whether that's in person, by phone or by email."

These types of scams ComEd says they don't take lightly.

"At ComEd, that's just not something we're going to stand for. So, really appreciate your ability to help us get the word out," said Park, "our customers, our community are very important to us and we're going to work together that they're informed and know how to protect themselves."

If you believe you're the victim of a scam, the company says -- as with any scam, you shouldn't be ashamed and you need to tell someone.

For additional information or if you have concerns about the status of your account, please contact 1-800-EDISON-1 (1-800-334-7661).
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