Akron, Ohio – In recognition of Utilities United Against Scams Day on November 15, FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) is providing utility customers with safety tips and a reminder to remain vigilant against scam and fraud activity.
“We take our customers’ safety and security very seriously,” said Gary W. Grant, vice president of customer service for FirstEnergy Utilities. “Through our website, social media outreach, newsletters and participation in industry efforts such as Utilities United Against Scams Day, we continue working to educate customers about scam activity and help them avoid falling victim to con artists who are posing as representatives of our company.”
Scam artists impersonating utility employees target their victims through door-to-door visits, phone calls, and electronic communications. In one of the most common schemes, these criminals will try to instill fear that power will be disconnected if the victim does not immediately provide a payment – often using a prepaid card or money transfer service.
FirstEnergy’s award-winning Scam and Fraud Information website, www.firstenergycorp.com/scam-info , describes reported scams and offers facts and safety reminders that can help customers protect themselves, including:
- Never purchase a prepaid card or use a money transfer service to avoid service disconnection. FirstEnergy’s utilities offer a wide array of billing and payment options, and will never insist on a particular method of payment. Customers with delinquent accounts receive an advance disconnection notification, typically by mail and included with their regular monthly bill. FirstEnergy’s utilities never send a single notification one hour or less before disconnection.
- If someone threatens immediate disconnection or shutoff of service, or you suspect someone is trying to scam you, hang up the phone, delete the email, or shut the door.
- Do not allow anyone claiming to be a utility employee into your home unless an appointment has been scheduled and the employee has provided proper identification.
- If you feel that you are in physical danger, call 911. If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud, or feel threatened during contact with one of these scammers, contact local law enforcement authorities.
- If you have any doubts about the status of your electric account or the identity of a company representative, call your utility company using the numbers below, which are also listed on FirstEnergy’s website. Do not use any phone number provided to you by a suspected scammer.
“Customers who have questions about their account status or the identity of someone who claims to be one of our employees should immediately call our customer contact centers,” Grant said. “We also urge customers to report any suspicious activity to the police, and to let us know if they believe they have been targeted by a scam.”
Customers are encouraged to share this information with friends and family to continue raising awareness of these crimes, and to revisit the Scam and Fraud Information page on FirstEnergy’s website periodically to check for updates on emerging scam activity.
Utility Company Customer Service Numbers:
- Ohio Edison 1-800-633-4766
- The Illuminating Company 1-800-589-3101
- Toledo Edison 1-800-447-3333 3
- Met-Ed 1-800-545-7741
- Penelec 1-800-545-7741
- Penn Power 1-800-720-3600
- West Penn Power 1-800-686-0021
- Jersey Central Power & Light 1-800-662-3115
- Mon Power 1-800-686-0022
- Potomac Edison 1-800-686-0011
FirstEnergy is part of Utilities United Against Scams, a consortium of more than 100 U.S. and Canadian utilities that is dedicated to combating impostor utility scams by providing a forum for utilities and trade associations to share data and best practices, and work together to implement initiatives to inform and protect customers.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.