ComEd Customers Fleeced by Con Artists Impersonating ComEd Workers

Number of reported scams has increased more than 70 percent so far in 2010

Jun 01, 2010, 15:22 ET from ComEd

CHICAGO, June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- With a more than 70 percent increase this year in cases involving con artists impersonating ComEd workers to obtain cash or personal information from customers, ComEd is warning customers to protect themselves.

ComEd officials report that impersonators use a number of tactics to snare their victims. In some cases, the scam artists wore plain clothes, and other times they wore some clothing similar to a utility worker such as a hard hat, a shirt with a ComEd logo, or a generic orange safety vest.

And with the number of impersonations rising at an alarming rate, what should customers do? 

1.)  Always ask to see a company photo ID before allowing any utility worker into your home or business.

2.)  Never pay on-site for "services." ComEd employees never will ask for cash payments or personal banking information.

3.)  Be skeptical of individuals wearing clothing with old or defaced ComEd logos. If you have any doubts, ask to see a company photo ID.

ComEd Vice President of Strategic & Support Services Rita Stols said the key is to always ask to see a company photo ID before letting anyone into your home or business. This applies whether the individual identifies himself as a utility worker, a postal carrier or cable technician.

"Twelve incidents have been reported to ComEd so far this year, up from seven for all of 2009," Stols said. "Other utilities have reported additional incidents, and a wide variety of customers have been targeted, ranging from individuals to a church to small businesses. So everyone should be on the alert."

Customers have reported losing as much as $700, but in some cases, customers' skepticism has protected them from being scammed.

The most recent incident occurred on May 27 on Chicago's Northwest Side when a customer reported that a man knocked and claimed to be a ComEd employee. The man asked several questions about the customer's home and requested to enter. When he would not show a company ID, the resident refused and contacted the police and ComEd. No arrest has been made.

If you believe you are a victim of a scam, please report it your local police and call ComEd security at 800-550-6154.

Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), one of the nation's largest electric utilities with approximately 5.4 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state's population.