With increased reliance on electricity during hot weather months and many customers still facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, utility scammers continue to find opportunities to trick customers into giving away personal information and paying “unpaid bills” to avoid service disconnection.
FirstEnergy and JCP&L remind customers to remain vigilant against utility imposters who claim to be associated with our company. While we take significant measures to ensure the safety and security of our customers’ account information, utility scammers continue to use sophisticated tactics to target vulnerable customers, like senior citizens or small business owners.
Last year, FirstEnergy utility customers reported more than 3,500 attempted scams. The actual number of scam attempts is even higher since many go unreported to the company or law enforcement. Although these sophisticated scammers work year-round, they are more active during summer and winter months because they know customers rely on electricity to cool or heat their homes and are more likely to comply due to fear of disconnection.
FirstEnergy customers can avoid falling victim to a utility scam by keeping the following information in mind:
- We often make courtesy calls to remind customers about outstanding balances and send written notices of a possible disconnection, but we do NOT call or email to demand immediate payment to avoid a same-day shutoff.
- Utility impostors often require that you use unusual payment methods like digital payment apps, cryptocurrencies or money transfers. Only send payments to your FirstEnergy electric company using established payment methods.
- FirstEnergy field collectors working in New Jersey will offer customers with past-due accounts the opportunity to pay their bill in person before disconnecting service. All employees carry company-issued photo identification.
- Imposters often use Caller ID spoofing software to misrepresent the source of a phone call to further mislead and confuse their targets. Call-back numbers provided by these criminals often use greetings and hold messages that mimic legitimate businesses. Always contact your electric company using the phone number listed on your bill or on the FirstEnergy website.
- If you suspect a scam, hang up or close the door and contact your local police department and FirstEnergy.
- If you have any doubts about the status of your account or the identity of a FirstEnergy employee, contact your electric company at the number listed on your bill or the company’s website. Never call the number the scammer provides.
We encourage customers to frequently visit our scam information page at www.firstenergycorp.com/scaminfo for updates and information on emerging scam activity. Stay safe!