Don’t be a victim: NJ utility company warns about an uptick in scams
Atlantic City Electric said there was an uptick in fraud attempts targeting customers since October 2023, and is urging customers to be on the lookout for imposters using energy-related scams to steal money, especially over the phone.
The utility, along with its sister utilities Delmarva Power and Pepco announced there were 2,200 reports of scam attempts in 2023, with an 11 percent success rate, up from 10 percent a year ago.
From October to December 2023, ACE customers lost more than $74,000 in scams, a 64 percent increase from the same period in 2022.
In total, customers lost more than $205,000 to phone scams in 2023, nearly 30 percent more than in 2022.
What are the scams?
According to its website, Atlantic City Electric has seen a spike in reports of individuals calling utility customers and falsely claiming their electric or gas service will be disconnected unless payment is made. The impersonators instruct customers to buy a prepaid credit card and call back to a different phone number with their personal identification number (PIN) or other personal information.
Bad actors will also use “spoofing” to manipulate the Caller ID displayed phone number so that it appears as an Atlantic City Electric number. Utility imposters may also come to a customer’s home, carrying “official” looking credentials. Customers should be mindful of individuals who try to gain access to their homes by posing as ACE workers. Ask for a photo ID through a window. All Atlantic City Electric employees carry company ID badges displaying their name, photo, and ID number.
Atlantic City Electric representatives will never call a customer to ask for cash or request they purchase a prepaid credit card to make a payment on a bill.
How to Avoid Being Scammed
Never provide your social security number or personal information to anyone initiating contact with you claiming to be a company representative or requesting you to send money to another person or entity, other than Atlantic City Electric.
Always ask to see a company photo ID before allowing any worker into your home or business.
Never make a payment for services to anyone coming to your door. Customers can make payments online, by phone, automatic bank withdrawal, or by mail.
Customers with a past due balance will receive multiple disconnect notifications. It will never be a single notification one hour before disconnection.
How to Report a Scam
If a customer ever questions the legitimacy of a call or visit to their home regarding the disconnection of service, they should contact Atlantic City Electric at 800-642-3780.
Any customer who believes they have been the target of a scam is urged to contact their local police and call Atlantic City Electric immediately to report the situation.
To learn more about preventing scams, visit here for more tips and information.