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For Immediate Release

Contact

Tasha Jamerson

tasha.jamerson@bge.com

BGE Continues to Remind Customers About Utility Scams During National Consumer Protection Week

BALTIMORE (March 4, 2020) – This week, BGE is joining Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) to recognize National Consumer Protection Week and help 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, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations—BGE works across the industry with regulators, law enforcement, and telecommunications partners to stop scams targeting utility customers.

"It is very important for BGE to remind our customers about utility scams," said Tamla Olivier, senior vice president of customer operations and chief customer officer for BGE. "Unfortunately, scammers are constantly changing their tactics and it's important that our customers have the most up to date information on these scams in order to help them avoid becoming victims."

It is not uncommon for scammers to call, text, or email utility customers asking for immediate payment to avoid service disconnection. As a reminder, BGE will never send a single notification to a customer within one hour of a service interruption, and they never will ask their customers to make payments with a pre-paid debit card, gift card, or any form of cryptocurrency.

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.
  • The scammer asks for a copy of the customer's utility bill. 

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 BGE at 800-685-0123.
  • BGE already has your account information and past bills.  If you are authorizing a legitimate third- party energy supplier to switch your energy supply, they will need you to disclose your electric choice ID or natural gas choice ID at the time you are authorizing to be switched to their service.  If you do not intend to switch your energy supplier, do not provide your choice ID number(s) or a copy of your bill to anyone.  

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 anyone claiming to be a utility worker into your home or business.
  • Never give payment in any form- cash, check, or credit- to anyone coming to your door.

Any customer who believes he or she has been a target of a scam is urged to contact their local police and call BGE immediately at 800-685-0123 to report the situation. Also, head to bgenow.com for more information on utility scammers and third party suppliers.

 

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BGE, founded in 1816 as the nation's first gas utility and headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland's largest natural gas and electric utility. The company's approximately 3,200 employees are committed to safe and reliable energy delivery to more than 1.3 million electric customers and more than 680,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. In the J.D. Power 2017, 2018, and 2019 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Studies SM  BGE was ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Business Electric Service in the East among Large Utilities. In the J.D. Power 2018 and 2019 Gas Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Studies SM BGE was ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Business Natural Gas Service among utilities in the East Region. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (Nasdaq: EXC), the nation's leading competitive energy provider. Connect with BGE on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and YouTube, and engage with the latest BGE stories on bgenow.com

 

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (or "BGE") received the highest score in the East Region of the 2019 Gas Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study and the East Large Segment of the 2019 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study of gas and electric utility customer satisfaction among business customers. Visit jdpower.com/awards.

 

 

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