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Illinois Utilities, CUB, and ICC Come Together to Warn Chicago-area Consumers about Scam Artists

CHICAGO, May 12, 2016 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Temperatures are not the only thing on the rise this spring; warmer temperatures also bring about an increase in unwelcomed solicitations by scam artists. ComEd, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas, and North Shore Gas, together with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) and the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), are joining forces to warn Chicago-area customers about scam artists posing as utility representatives.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) states that the number of reported scams generally rises with warmer weather. Nationally, there has been an uptick in people claiming to be utility company workers over the past several years. In fact, they are scam artists who pose as utility workers and who usually target customers through door-to-door visits and phone calls.

With the door-to-door scams, someone impersonating a utility worker will visit customers’ homes looking to get personal and/or account information, and in some cases enter into the customer’s home. Variations of the phone scam include stories that the customer’s billing cycle has changed and payment is needed immediately; the account is past due and immediate payment is required to avoid disconnection of service; or that the customer’s previous payments were not accepted or processed. In those cases, the scammers instruct customers to buy a prepaid credit card and direct them to call back with the personal identification number (PIN).

“ComEd is committed to the safety of our customers, including keeping them informed of activity that could impact their service or accounts. Over the last several months we have seen an increase in phone impersonations where scam artists call customers claiming they are a utility representative and proceed to swindle unsuspecting victims out of money or financial information,” said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president of Governmental and External Affairs, ComEd. “We are pleased to join with other Illinois utilities and the ICC and CUB to amplify the information around this fraudulent activity and raise greater awareness among our customers.”

“The Illinois Commerce Commission does not tolerate utility scams and it commends...