Atlantic City Electric and its related utilities, Delmarva Power and Pepco, reported more than 2,200 phone scam attempts targeting its customers in 2023, a 5% increase over the previous year.
The utility also reported that the success rate for scammers last year also increased from 10% to 11%. In the fourth quarter alone, customers lost more than $74,000; for the year, they lost more than $200,000, the utility said.
A favorite scam is to claim that service will be disconnected if immediate payment is not made through purchase of a prepaid credit card or by sending money to a party other than Atlantic City Electric. A technique called “spoofing” allows the scam artist to modify the caller ID to make it seem the call is from Atlantic City Electric.
Scammers often use threats of immediate disconnection of service, offers of discounts on energy bills or even cash or credit incentives to get payments or a customer’s personal and financial information.
With the increase in scam attempts, Atlantic City Electric is reminding customers that they should never make a payment for services to anyone coming to the door. The utility’s agents will also never ask a customer to send money to another entity or to purchase a prepaid credit card as a way of satisfying past-due amounts.
The utility also advises that customers never provide a Social Security number or account numbers to anyone claiming to be a company representative. They remind customers that the disconnection of service is a lengthy process with multiple notifications; it would never be initiated one hour before disconnect.
When in doubt about the legitimacy of a contact from someone claiming to be from Atlantic City Electric, customers should contact the company at 800-642-3780.
Contact the author, Vince Conti, at firstname.lastname@example.org.