WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Scammers are posing as Pepco employees and cheating District residents out of money over the phone.
A Pepco customer who asked 7 On Your Side not to identify her says she's embarrassed she fell for the scam and was out of town when she got the call. The scammers said Pepco would only accept a pre-paid money card payment for a delinquent account.
She handed over $780.
"They identified themselves as representatives of Pepco. They informed me my account status was in the red flag and it was threatened to be disconnected in 24 hours,” says the Pepco customer.
Earlier this year DC's Office of the People's Counsel sent out a consumer alert warning about increased reports of utility scams mentioning multiple consumer complaints about scammers pretending to be Pepco representatives.
"They are now using a technique that we call spoofing which allows them to masquerade their number and location and replace it with a legitimate number,” says Sandra Mattavous Frye, the People's Council with the Office of People's Counsel DC.
Here's how you can protect yourself:
- Always check your bill to see if you actually owe any past due money.
- Beware of callers asking to pay with gift or money cards. It's a scammers first choice of currency.
- Call the customer service number on your bill before you hand over any money on the phone.
This use to be a scam used on senior citizens but the Office of People's Counsel says more and more the general population is now being targeted.