Scammers may attempt to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming you may need to make an immediate payment to avoid service shutoffs – Here’s what you need to know to avoid them.
PECO is reminding customers to always be on alert for potential payment scams targeting utility customers. Scams occur throughout the year, but scammers are using the COVID-19 pandemic to trick utility customers into providing their personal or financial information.
Red flags for scam activity:
- The scammer often 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 him or her 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 to the card.
How to protect yourself:
- Never provide your social security number or personal information to anyone initiating contact with you claiming to be a utility representative or requesting you to send money to another person or entity other than your local utility providers.
- Always ask to see a company photo ID before allowing any utility worker into your home or business.
- Never make a payment for services to anyone coming to your door.
PECO payments and procedures:
- Utility 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 shut off 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 PECO directly at 1-800-494-4000.
Any PECO customer who believes he or she has been a target of a scam is urged to contact their local police, and call PECO immediately at 1-800-494-4000 to report the situation.
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