Illinois Utilities Join National Effort to Help Protect Customers from Scammers

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Illinois utilities – ComEd, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas, and North Shore Gas – for the second year in a row have joined forces with dozens of natural gas and electric utility companies across the United States and Canada to help provide essential information that can help utility customers avoid being scammed. These utilities, including other Exelon utilities, Atlantic City Electric, BGE, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco are committed to educating customers and putting a stop to scamming. The collaborating energy companies have joined together again this year and designated Nov. 15 as “Utilities United Against Scams Day.” This day will be supported by a week-long campaign with content, online and on social media channels, focused on exposing the tricks scammers use to steal money from customers, and how customers can protect themselves. The effort, which includes utility member organizations such as Edison Electric Institute and American Gas Association, encourages utilities to share these messages to help guard against scam activity.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

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 supposedly 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.

Anyone who believes he or she has been a target of a phone scam is urged to contact the Illinois Attorney General’s office toll free at 1-800-386-5438 (TTY 1-800-964-3013) or visit the Illinois Attorney General’s web site at and click on the link “Protecting Consumers.”

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