Baltimore Gas and Electric Company has launched an educational campaign to inform customers about potential utility employee impostors. The company reports that phonies posing as BGE employees either in person or over the telephone have been trying to gain access to homes and businesses or to steal credit card information. The fraudsters may even wear official-looking clothing and carry fake credentials.
In the past year, BGE and other utility companies across the nation have seen an increase in customers contacted as part of a telephone scam, referred to as the “Green Dot” Visa credit card scam. The callers misrepresent themselves as a BGE employee and tell customers their service is scheduled to be terminated. In order to stop the termination, the impostors inform the customers that they should make a payment by purchasing a “Green Dot” Visa credit card. The customers are then directed to call another phone number where information is obtained from the credit card and the monetary value is removed from the card. The utility giant reports that this is a hustle; the funds are not being used for a BGE bill. Customers should not provide any type of payment or financial information in response to the “Green Dot” scam and should hang up immediately.
If customers are contacted as part of this scheme, they should call local law enforcement and the BGE Customer Contact Center immediately at 800.685.0123. BGE urges customers to always call BGE at 800.685.0123 to verify an employee’s credentials or with any questions or concerns. If at any time customers are concerned for their safety they should contact 911.
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, install new BGE electric and natural gas smart meters, or to start or stop service.
“The safety of our customers and employees is a top priority, and we encourage our customers to be vigilant about the safety in their homes and businesses,” said Carol Dodson, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE.
“At times, a BGE representative may 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, which should be visible at all times, displaying their name, photograph and identification number. If at any time you have any questions, we urge customers to call BGE at 1.800.685.0123. A customer contact center representative can verify the employee and the nature of the visit or phone call.”
BGE works closely with local police to address these scams, but also urges customers to take an active role by taking the following steps:
- Customers should never open their door to someone they don’t recognize and should always ask for a photo ID through the door or window, especially if you did not request a visit from BGE.
- All BGE employees and contractors carry company identification badges, displaying their name, photograph and identification number. To verify a BGE employee’s identity or work being done at your home, call BGE at 800-685-0123.
- Customers who encounter suspicious activity or suspected utility impostors are urged to contact the police immediately.
BGE customers also have the option of purchasing natural gas and electricity from third-party suppliers and representatives of the 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 their badge and verify their identification. For more information on customer choice, visit bge.com/choice.