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PECO Communications

PECO.Communication@exeloncorp.com

PECO Continues Efforts to Raise Awareness of Customer Scams During National Consumer Protection Week

National Consumer Protection Week brings attention to common scamming practices and educates customers on how they can fight back and protect themselves

PHILADELPHIA (March 5, 2020) – PECO this week joins Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) to recognize National Consumer Protection Week and to educate customers on how they can guard against falling victim to imposter utility scams.                                                                                      

As a member of UUAS—a consortium of 146 U.S. and Canadian electric, natural gas and water companies and their respective trade associations—PECO and its sister Exelon companies, Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, and Pepco, work across the industry with regulators, law enforcement, and telecommunications partners to stop scams targeting customers.

"The personal and financial safety and security of our customers and their information is our top priority," said Funmi Williamson, PECO senior vice president of Customer Operations and Chief Customer Officer. "National Consumer Protection Week provides us with another important opportunity to educate and equip our customers on how to protect their personal information and to broaden our awareness efforts through Utilities United Against Scams to combat the utility scamming that continues to target our customers."

UUAS and its member companies continue to create awareness of common and new scam tactics and, to date, have helped to cease operations of more than 6,000 toll-free numbers used against utility customers by scammers.

When scams occur, a customer typically receives an unsolicited phone call from an individual, who falsely claims to be a company representative. The scammer often warns that the customer's service will be terminated if they fail to make a payment – usually within a short timeframe through a prepaid debit card or other direct payment method.

Scammers have even duplicated the telephone systems of some companies, so when customers call the number provided by the scammer, it sounds like a legitimate business. Some scammers also use caller ID "spoofing" to replicate a company's phone number. 

Signs of Potential 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.
  • The scammers may disguise themselves as the utility by sending spam emails with logos, trademarks, website links, and wording to lure the customer into making a false payment or providing personal information.

How Customers Can Protect Themselves:

  • PECO 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.

Don't Get Scammed: Customers can avoid being scammed by taking a few precautions:

  • 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.

Throughout the year, PECO takes steps to raise awareness among its customers, including posting tips to social media, adding alerts on the peco.com homepage, issuing news releases, and participating annually in Utilities United Against Scams Day in November. 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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PECO, founded in 1881, is Pennsylvania's largest electric and natural gas utility. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PECO delivers energy to more than 1.6 million electric customers and more than 532,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Pennsylvania. The company's 2,700 employees are dedicated to the safe and reliable delivery of electricity and natural gas as well as enhanced energy management conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. In 2018, PECO was named to Forbes Magazine's list of Best Employers for Women. The company also has an estimated annual economic impact of $4.8 billion in Pennsylvania, supporting more than 9,000 local jobs and producing $775 million in labor income. PECO is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (Nasdaq: EXC), the nation's only Fortune 100 utility and leading competitive energy provider. For more information visit PECO.com, and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.

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