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The original item was published from 7/9/2018 4:41:04 PM to 7/2/2022 12:00:04 AM.

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General Press Releases

Posted on: July 9, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Scam Alert! 3 Westmont Businesses Lose Money to Utility/Government Agency Scammers

Westmont, Illinois
Date Issued: July 9, 2018

Three local businesses have become victims of the "pay now or we're shutting you down" utility or government agency scam.  Protect yourself and help protect your community.  Please share this info with your friends and neighbors:

CALLERS THREATENING TO SHUT OFF UTILITIES OR SHUT DOWN YOUR BUSINESS
While the caller ID may identify a caller as your utility company or government agency, you should never give them your financial information over the phone if the call was not initiated by you. Even if the caller offers you their company ID number and other information to make you feel reassured you’re speaking with a legitimate company, you might not be.  These scams are becoming more sophisticated. Con artists work very hard to appear like real utility or government agencies, and trick consumers into making payments over the phone.

SWITCHING ENERGY SUPPLIERS
Some energy suppliers employ telemarketers and door-to-door salesmen to recruit new customers with promises of lower rates for switching. Salesmen may ask for your name, address and utility account number, but not a credit card, however, that information is enough to switch your provider either with your blessing or by "slamming," the illegal practice of switching customers to another provider without their consent. In some cases, after a brief introductory period, rates may suddenly skyrocket and you may find yourself locked into a long-term contract with high cancellation fees. 

To protect yourself, avoid unsolicited offers and instead research the true cost of providers if you are interested in switching energy suppliers. In Illinois it is easy to compare rates and terms of state-vetted suppliers at:

www.pluginillinois.org

www.icc.illinois.gov/ags/consumereducation.aspx#summary

www.citizensutilityboard.org

THE PHONEY UTILITY INSPECTOR
If a utility inspector knocks on your door, protect yourself by asking to see a photo ID. Never provide social security or personal information to anyone initiating contact with you claiming to be a utility representative or requesting you to send money to another person or entity other than your local utility providers. Never make payment for services to anyone coming to the door. Be skeptical of individuals wearing clothing with old or defaced company logos. Always ask to see a company photo ID before allowing any utility worker into your home or business. 

If you believe a person dressed like or claiming to be a utility worker is behaving suspiciously, please report it immediately using the police department non-emergency number 630-981-6300.

###

Contact: Larry McIntyre
Village of Westmont
Communications Director/PIO
630-417-0280
lmcintyre@westmont.il.gov

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