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For Immediate Release

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PECO Communications

PECO.Communication@exeloncorp.com

PECO Joins Energy Companies Across North America In Fight Against Scammers

"Utilities United Against Scams Day" helps raise awareness and provides customers with essential information to fight back!

PHILADELPHIA (November 14, 2018) – PECO is joining more than 100 energy companies across the United States and Canada in the effort to protect customers from scams targeting customers of electric, natural gas, water, and other utilities. PECO and its sister Exelon companies, Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, and Pepco are committed to educating customers and putting a stop to scamming.

Collaborating energy companies have joined together for a third year and designated November 14 as "Utilities United Against Scams Day." This day is supported by a week-long campaign, including social media and online content, focused on exposing the tricks scammers use to steal money from customers, and how customers can protect themselves. The effort, which includes industry member organizations such as Edison Electric Institute and American Gas Association, encourages companies to share these messages to help guard against scam and imposter activity.

"The personal and financial safety and security of our customers and their information is our top priority," said Mike Innocenzo, PECO president and CEO. "We want to provide our customers with important tools and information that can help protect them from scamming attempts and we won't stop until every customer can feel safe about who is on the other end of the line, or on the other side of the door."

When being scammed, a customer typically receives an unsolicited phone call from an individual who falsely claims to be a company representative. The scammer warns that the customer's service will be shut off if they fail to make a payment – usually within a short timeframe through a prepaid debit card.

Scammers have even duplicated the upfront Interactive Voice Response system 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 utility's phone number. 

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

  • 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, hang up and call PECO 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.

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 523,000 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 (NYSE: 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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