For Immediate Release
BALTIMORE, MD (Nov. 11, 2022) – With the holiday season rapidly approaching, BGE joins Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) in supporting International Fraud Awareness Week and recognizing Utility Scam 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 are taking advantage of economic challenges and pressuring families and businesses who may be struggling with past-due balances.
Since January, BGE has received over 6,000 scam complaints with customers reporting a loss of close to $360,000 to utility scammers and imposters. This is an increase in the amount of money paid to scammers compared to the same time last year. BGE wants all customers to know scam reporting is currently approaching a 5% increase over last year with complaints rising as the holiday season draws near. Therefore, it is critical that customers understand how to avoid scammers and are urged to please be vigilant in stopping every attempt since any success helps fuel scammers to make more attempts.
"Utilities United Against Scams Awareness Day continues to be a very important opportunity for BGE to reach out to remind our customers to stay vigilant because scammers change their tactics every day," said Chima Chijioke, vice president of customer operations for BGE. "It is so disappointing that these scammers continue to use this time of economic uncertainty to deceive our customers. We want to remind customers that disconnection is a last resort, and we want to help customers who may be behind. Any customer who is experiencing a hardship or difficulty with their bill should call BGE immediately at 1-800-685-0123."
Common scams include:
REMEMBER: Customers with a past due balance will receive multiple service interruption notifications for nonpayment– never a single notification one hour before disconnection. BGE will never ask customers to make payments with a pre-paid debit card, gift card, or any form of cryptocurrency.
"It's important to be aware of the signs of a possible scam. Customers shouldn't be fooled by payment pressure tactics," said BGE Security Director Wayne Mullaney. "Almost all the victims we've heard from say the urgency of the call, email, or text message kept them from trusting 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 their current bill status at BGE My Account online, by downloading BGE's Mobile App, or by calling Paymentus to check on 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 many programs in place, including its new Assistance Finder tool, to help customers through temporary or extended financial hardship..
Residential customers who are past due on their BGE bill should contact the company as soon as possible. Customers should never wait until they are in crisis to contact BGE—the time is now. To learn more about assistance options customers can call 410.685.0123 or visit bge.com/Assistance for additional information.
Here are some tips and red flags that customers should look out for to prevent them from becoming victims of utility scammers.
Five Quick Tips
Red Flags for Scam Activity
Any customer who believes they've been a target of a scam is urged to contact their local police. Customers can also self-report utility-related 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 increases awareness of scam tactics used by utility impostors. Through its work and with the help of customer reporting, UUAS has successfully helped remove nearly 12,000 scam numbers.
BGE is Maryland's largest natural gas and electric utility, providing safe and reliable energy delivery to more than 1.3 million electric customers and nearly 700,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. The company was founded in 1816 as the nation's first gas utility and remains headquartered in Baltimore City to this day. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (Nasdaq: EXC), the nation's leading energy utility company. Engage with the latest BGE stories on bgenow.com and connect with BGE on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.