A friend of mine received a call at his restaurant from Com-Ed, saying that he needed to pay his bill or the electricity would be turned off. The Com-Ed representative told my friend exactly what he owed and said that he was behind in his payments - which he was, by only a week or so. The friendly and professional voice reassured him that there was nothing to worry about as long as he sent a money order within a few hours.
My friend was very concerned,
since he had a lot to lose if the power was turned off. He sent his payment right away to the account number that was given him. But then he got a call later that day from the same people, claiming that they had never received the payment. My friend explained to the rep that he had sent the payment of over $1000. The rep said that the payment had not gone through, and told him to send it again. He did. And that is how he was robbed of over $2000!
It was all a scam! It hadn't been Com-Ed at all! This was a high-level scam that sounded like a genuine call from Com-Ed. The scammer told my friend the exact amount he owed. When my friend called the phone number back, it went through a series of options like a real Com-Ed call. The phone number started with 844, a toll-free area code linked to other scams. The number was traced to a hotel in California. That is where they had set up "shop". After a few days in one location, the scammers move to another, to avoid getting caught.
My friend called the police, but will he ever get his money back? Probably not. What should he have done to begin with? The same thing you need to do if you get a similar call... HANG UP!! DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY! DO NOT GIVE OUT YOUR CREDIT CARD INFO! WAIT! Look up the number for Com-Ed in the directory or on Com-Ed's website, and call that number. This goes for the gas company, AT&T, Comcast, etc. Once you know that it was a scam, call the police (non-emergency line, not 911). If you are still unsure, call somebody you trust and they will get to the bottom of it. Above all, do not send any money... hang up!