by Kevin Dicciani

Callers posing as PECO workers are targeting local residents and businesses with a phone scam.

The scam is not new, according to PECO. It starts with a phone call from someone claiming to be a PECO representative. They inform you that your account is delinquent in an X amount of dollars. If you do not pay immediately, they say, PECO will shut off your service. The scammers then ask you to load money onto a prepaid debit card and supply them with the card information. Once you do, they vanish with your money.

Matthew Spector, vice president of operations at Bowman Properties, was targeted a week ago with this scam.

Spector received a call from a man named Francis who said that Bowman’s account was overdue by $750. Francis said a delinquent notice was mailed 10 days prior to making the call, and if the balance wasn’t paid their service would be shut off within 45 minutes.

After Spector asked for an extension and was told it could not be done, he asked to speak to a supervisor. The man transferred him to the supervisor, who also told Spector he could not delay the shutoff. Spector asked to have the delinquent invoice and shutoff notice emailed to him so he could review the situation, but he never received either.

Spector then called PECO, which confirmed that Bowman’s account was up to date. PECO logged Spector’s complaint and told him that he was not the first to receive this type of call. He then called the man back and told him he was aware of the fraudulent activity. The man hung up.

PECO said since 2011 more than hundreds of residents and businesses have been targeted by this scam, with the latter being increasingly targeted. To avoid being taken by this scam, PECO advises customers to never give out bank information over the phone unless you initiated the call. The company warns of providing financial and personal information to anyone claiming to be from PECO who does not know your name, address, account number and current balance. Customers also will receive several delinquent notices in the mail before service is shutoff.

Anyone with questions should call PECO at 1-800-494-4000.