The Better Business Bureau and ComEd are warning of a recent increase in scams following a summer that saw several stretches of extreme heat.
After the first five weeks of summer brought oppressive heat to much of the Chicago area, BBB reported nearly 280 reports of scams from customers in July, greatly eclipsing the 80 reports received in July 2021.
ComEd last reported a significant increase in scam reports in February 2022, when nearly 290 customers reported scams following a bout of freezing temperatures in January. In addition to reports from this July, customers lost nearly $25,000 due to scams.
According to ComEd, scammers contact customers by phone, demanding payment to a mobile app account under the threat of immediate service disconnection. The scammer instructs the customer to pay via Venmo, Cashapp, Zelle or QuickPay.
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The apps are utilized due to having higher transaction limits than pre-paid cash cards. ComEd officials said in some instances, scammers insisted they had not received a payment yet, getting the customer to send money multiple times.
ComEd reminds customers that utility workers will never ask for payment via mobile payment app or pre-paid cash card, demand immediate payment or ask for personal information.
Additionally, the agency said workers will always wear a ComEd uniform with the logo and employee's badge clearly visible.
Anyone who may have been victim to a utility scam is encouraged to report scams to the BBB Scamtracker, even if no money was lost.