BGE warns customers to stay abreast of scams during holiday season

BALTIMORE, MD – With the holiday season fast approaching, BGE joins Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) in supporting International Fraud Awareness Week and recognizing Utilities Scams Awareness Day by reminding customers to be on the lookout for imposters using energy-related scams to steal money and personal information.

This year, utility companies across the country are asking customers to “know the signs” and help #StopScams. BGE typically sees an increase in scam reports during the holiday season. Additionally, imposters take advantage of economic challenges and put pressure on families and businesses that may be struggling with overdue balances.

Since January, BGE has received more than 6,000 scam complaints, with customers reporting a loss of almost $360,000 to crooks and imposters of public services. This is an increase in the amount of money paid out to scammers compared to the same period last year. BGE wants all customers to know that scam reports are currently approaching a 5% increase over last year, with complaints increasing as the holiday season approaches. Therefore, it is essential that customers understand how to avoid scammers and are advised to be vigilant in stopping every attempt because any success helps scammers to make more attempts.

“Utilities United Against Scams Awareness Day continues to be a very important opportunity for BGE to remind our customers to remain vigilant as scammers change tactics every day,” said Chima Chijioke, Vice President of Client Operations for BGE. “It’s so disappointing that these scammers continue to use this time of economic uncertainty to deceive our customers. We want to remind customers that disconnecting is a last resort, and we want to help customers who may be late. Everything Customer who is experiencing any difficulties or difficulties with their bill should call BGE immediately at 1-800-685-0123.”

Common scams include:

* Caller ID spoofing, which replicates BGE or Exelon phone numbers, increasing the likelihood that a customer will answer. Typically, a recorded message threatens to cut off service if payment is not made with a prepaid payment card or cryptocurrency. If a customer calls the number provided by the scammer, it looks like a real business, but it’s not.

* Text messages with payment requests followed by receipt of a QR code to be used for payment at a cryptocurrency machine.

* Live calls from scammers who claim the meter needs to be turned off immediately or the power will be cut off. These claims are followed by a request for immediate payment which includes Cashapp, Bitcoin, Zelle or Green Dot payment methods. Some of these calls end with a barcode being texted to the customer for immediate payment.

REMEMBER: Customers with an overdue balance will receive multiple service interruption notifications for non-payment – never a single notification an hour before disconnection. BGE will never ask customers to make payments with a prepaid debit card, gift card or any form of cryptocurrency.

“It is important to be aware of the signs of a possible scam. Customers should not be fooled by payment pressures,” said BGE’s security director. Wayne Mullaney. “Nearly every victim we heard from said the urgency of the call, email or text made it difficult for them to trust their instincts. These types of forceful requests are never legitimate, and customers should disengage immediately and call BGE at 1-800-685-0123.”

Customers can easily check the current status of their bill on BGE My online account, by downloading the BGE mobile application or by calling Paymentus to check their account balance at 1-833-209-5245. We also encourage customers to learn more about energy assistance programs that can help them meet their energy needs. BGE has implemented many programs, including its new assistance finder, to help customers through temporary or prolonged financial difficulties.

Residential customers who are overdue on their BGE bill should contact the company as soon as possible. Customers should never wait until they are in crisis to contact BGE – now is the time. To learn more about support options, customers can call 410.685.0123 or visit bge.com/Support for more information.

Here are some tips and red flags for customers to pay attention to to avoid falling victim to utility scammers.

Five quick tips

1 BGE will never ask a customer to purchase a prepaid debit card, pay through mobile payment apps like Cashapp, Zelle, or Venmo, or pay with cryptocurrency.

2 Customers will never receive a single phone call claiming they have an hour before being disconnected unless they pay immediately. If a customer has an overdue balance, they will receive multiple notifications requesting payment.

3 BGE will never contact customers for information that BGE already has, including preferred ID numbers, social security numbers, or any other personal information.

4 BGE will not call customers to offer a discount or discount.

5 Trust your instincts. If a call does not appear to be from BGE, customers should hang up and immediately call BGE at 1-800-685-0123.

Red flags for scam activity

* The scammer often gets angry and tells a customer that the account is overdue, and service will be interrupted if a large payment is not made – usually within an hour.

* The scammer asks the customer to buy a prepaid debit or credit card – widely available at most retail stores – and then call back to make a payment.

*The scammer asks the customer for the receipt number and PIN of the prepaid card, which gives instant access to the funds loaded on the card.

* The scammer asks for a copy of the customer’s electricity bill.

always remember

*Never provide your social security number or personal information to anyone who contacts you claiming to be a utility representative or asking you to send money to another person or entity other than your service provider local public.

*Always ask to see company photo ID before allowing a utility worker to enter your home or business.

*BGE does not accept cash payments at the door.

Any customer who thinks they have been the target of a scam is encouraged to contact their local police. Customers can also self-report utility scams to BGE through our website or call 1-800-658-0123.

UUAS is a consortium of nearly 150 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations that raises awareness of the scam tactics used by utility imposters. Thanks to his work and with the help of customer reports, UUAS managed to remove nearly 12,000 fraudulent numbers.

###

BGE is from Maryland largest natural gas and electric utility, providing safe and reliable power delivery to more than 1.3 million electric customers and nearly 700,000 natural gas customers in the center Maryland. The company was founded in 1816 as the nation’s first gas utility and is still headquartered at Baltimore City nowadays. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (Nasdaq: EXC), the nation’s leading energy services company. Participate in the latest BGE stories at bgenow.com and connect with BGE on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

.

About Madeline Dennis

Check Also

This wallet pays the highest rates just to HODL your Bitcoin

SPONSORED POST* While the entire crypto market is still stuck in a downtrend, investors are …