Scam artists may be misrepresenting themselves as BGE employees in order to steal cash or gain entry into customers’ homes
Elderly and limited income customers are common targets
BALTIMORE, May 5, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today advised customers to beware of people posing as BGE employees in order to steal cash or gain entry into their homes or businesses. At least two such cases have been recently reported in the Baltimore area. In addition to contacting customers in-person, occasionally, these scam artists call customers seeking credit card or other personal information. Many times, they indicate that they’re trying to collect payment on a past due BGE bill and threaten to suspend service if the “payment” isn’t made.
“BGE reminds customers that employees carry photo identification cards which should always be visible, especially during rare instances when a BGE employee must visit a customer’s home,” said Jeannette M. Mills, chief customer officer for BGE.
“Customers can always call BGE to verify an individual visiting their home is a BGE employee. As a reminder, BGE no longer accepts cash payments in the field and generally only requires entry into a customer’s home in response to gas or electric emergencies, to check BGE equipment, read BGE meters or to start or stop service. Additionally, customers should never give personal information such as credit card numbers to people claiming to represent BGE in telephone calls.”
Utility impostors usually carry credentials that appear to be official and often work in pairs. Many times, they threaten to turn off the customer’s gas or electric service if the customer does not give them a cash “payment.” Other times, they may seek entry into the customer’s home to steal cash or other valuables. BGE works very closely with local police departments when such instances are reported and regularly advises customers about impostors and how to avoid becoming a victim in its bill insert, BGE Connections as well as on its website, www.bge.com. BGE recommends customers take the following steps to help ensure their safety against impostors:
-Do not open your door to someone you do not recognize
-Ask for a photo identification through the door or window, especially if you did not schedule a visit from BGE
-Report suspicious activity to the police and BGE
-NEVER give cash to someone claiming to be collecting a BGE payment
Because BGE customers have the option of purchasing natural gas and electricity from third-party suppliers, representatives of those companies may contact customers in person, by mail or telephone. They may also ask to see a customer’s BGE bill. Representatives of third-party suppliers should carry identification from the company for which they work, not BGE. Customers should not hesitate to ask to see that identification.
BGE, www.bge.com, headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, delivering power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 640,000 natural gas customers in Central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,000 employees are committed to the safe and reliable delivery of gas and electricity, as well as enhanced energy management, conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. BGE is a subsidiary of Constellation Energy, www.constellation.com, a FORTUNE 500 company also headquartered in Baltimore, with subsidiaries that generate, sell and provide other energy-related services to customers throughout North America.