Elderly and limited income customers are common targets
BALTIMORE, Jan. 14, 2011– Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), today, cautioned customers to be aware of individuals claiming to represent the utility in order to gain access to their homes and businesses. Periodically, people posing as BGE employees visit customers, usually seeking entry into their homes to attempt to steal money and other valuables. 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 no longer accepts cash payments from customers and at no time should a customer give cash to someone who approaches them claiming to represent BGE, nor should they give personal information such as credit card numbers to people misrepresenting themselves as BGE employees in telephone calls,” said Jeannette M. Mills, senior vice president of customer relations and account services for BGE. “BGE works with local police departments to address this issue, but also urges customers to use common sense if confronted with this type of situation.”
BGE customers have the option of purchasing natural gas and electricity from third-party suppliers and representatives of these companies may contact customers in person, by mail or telephone seeking their business. They may also ask to see the 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 regularly advises customers about imposters and how to avoid becoming a victim in its monthly bill insert, BGE Connections. BGE advises customers that utility imposters may carry official looking credentials and often work in pairs. Customers should know that in general, the only time a BGE representative may visit a customer’s home is in response to a gas or electric emergency, to check BGE equipment, read BGE meters or to start or stop service.
Although it is rare for the BGE representative to require entry into the customer’s home, if the entry is requested, the customer should always ask to see photo identification. All BGE employees and contractors carry company identification badges displaying their name, photograph and identification number. To verify a BGE employee’s identify or to confirm work being done to their home, customers should call BGE at 410-685-0123. Representatives are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
BGE recommends that customers take an active role in ensuring their safety against imposters by taking a few steps. First, customers should not open their door to someone they don’t recognize. Customers should always ask for a photo ID through the door or window, especially if you did not request a visit from BGE. Finally, report suspicious activity to the police. Customers who encounter suspected utility imposters are urged to contact the police immediately.
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 wholly owned 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.