Scammers may attempt to take advantage of the COVID-19 health emergency, claiming you may need to make an immediate payment to avoid service shutoffs – Here’s what you need to know to avoid them.
BGE and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh are reminding customers to always be on alert for potential payment scams targeting utility customers. Scams occur throughout the year, but with holiday shopping and family gatherings planned, scammers are using the holiday season to trick utility customers into providing their personal or financial information.
In 2019, BGE customers have reported losing close to $170,000 to scammers and imposters. According to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, over the last three years they have received over 61 utility scam complaints with some victims losing as much as $4,000 dollars each to the scams.
Scammers often call customers and threaten that their service will be disconnected if they don’t take a prescribed series of steps: first, buy a prepaid credit card… second, call back to a different phone number… third, share your personal identification number (PIN) or other personal information.
These criminals also use a tactic called “spoofing” that makes Caller ID falsely show a BGE number. BGE also cautions customers to be mindful of individuals who try to gain access to their homes by posing as utility workers. Utility impostors may carry “official” looking credentials and often work in pairs.
- BGE representatives will never call you to ask you for cash or request that you purchase a prepaid credit card to make a payment on your bill.
- Never open your door to someone you do not recognize.
- Ask for a photo ID through a window. All BGE employees and contractors carry company ID badges displaying their name, photograph and identification number.
- Go with your gut! If it feels like the claims or information being asked is inaccurate, or inappropriate it probably is.
- If you have concerns about the status of your account, call BGE’s Customer Service line at 1-800-685-0123.
- Also, if you believe you have been the target of a phone scam, BGE urges you to report suspicious activity to the police.