WASHINGTON D.C., DC — QUESTION:
A viewer in Maryland received a call from someone alleging to be his electricity provider. They knew his name, address and phone number, but asked for the service number on his last bill.
Instead of providing it, he contacted the Verify team to find out if the call was legitimate, and what type of damage someone could do with his service number.
It's not a legit call. Our Verify sources said if you give someone your service number they could potentially access more personal information, and sign you up for unwanted services.
Aaron Ruegg -- Potomac Edison-spokesperson
Jamie Caswell -- Exelon Corporation- spokesperson
Priscilla Knight -- NOVEC-spokesperson
Peggy Fox -- Dominion Energy Northern Virginia- spokesperson
A Maryland man told the Verify team he got a call from someone claiming to be his electricity provider. The caller said he had overpaid and was due a $150 refund. They also offered him a monthly discount of 15 to 20 percent.
The caller knew his name, address and phone number, but asked for the service number on his last electric bill.
He asked us to Verify if the call was legit?
First, our researchers spoke with all the Maryland electricity providers, including Potomac Edison and the Exelon Corporation, which owns Pepco, Baltimore Gas and Electric and Delmarva Power.
They all said "it's not us."
Typically, if you overpay, you won't get a call from a company representative.
"The billing amount will be deducted, and any over-payment would be reflected as a credit on the next bill," Jamie Caswell, a spokesperson for Exelon, said. "We typically only call customers for missed or late payment issues, extended outages, construction work and related issues."
A spokesperson for Potomac Edison said that unsolicited calls offering an over-the-phone discount should raise a red flag.
"We never call our customers to discuss rates or potential offers from Potomac Edison," Aaron Ruegg said.
Reugg and Caswell also noted that their representatives would already know a customer's service number from their previous bill, and wouldn't ask for that.
If you give your service number out, a thief could potentially gain access to other personal information or try to sign you up for more services.
So we can verify that no Maryland electricity company would call you out of the blue, or ask you for any personal info.
Our researchers also contacted NOVEC and Dominion Energy in Northern Virginia, who confirmed that they wouldn’t call you and ask for personal info either.
"Some utility impostors may falsify their caller ID to appear they are using a local number, or even Dominion Energy's customer service number," Dominion Energy said on their website. "When in doubt, hang up and call the number located on your energy bill."
Fraudsters pretending to be utility providers have been targeting people for years, often times threatening to cut your electricity for late payment. The Federal Trade Commission has tips on what to do if you find yourself on the receiving end of this scam.