STATELINE (WIFR) – It’s a utility scam the Rockford Better Business Bureau says has been circulating all summer. 23 News Reporter Lauren Kravets spoke to a business that almost became a victim as well as the alleged scammers.
Getting phone calls at Crazy Joe’s furniture store isn’t unusual, except for the type of call the store received Wednesday.
“They had said they were from ComEd and they were going to send a crew to shut off our power in one hour because of a delinquent bill.”
The message was relayed to the store owner, Joe Namoff who is out of town. Namoff says he called the company back at the phone number given and they told him they needed $300 immediately.
“I would have to make a minimum payment to keep my power on. They wanted me to go to a Family Dollar store where they would take utility payments.”
Namoff then called a different number, ComEd’s customer service line where he was told it was a scam.
Our very own Lauren Kravets called alleged “scam company”.
“Disconnection Team, this is Charles how can I help you?”
We asked if they were ComEd.
“Yes Ma’am, how can I help you?”
We asked if they were a company pretending to be ComEd and scam people. They said no, but when we asked again what company they worked for, they said “Kay’s Business”. We asked if they dealt with disconnecting ComEd service they said no.
ComEd spokesman Paul Callighan says ComEd doesn’t work with third parties to disconnect power. When it comes payment Callighan said “we aren’t going to direct you on how to make the payment, we’re going to direct you to make payments through our secure website or over secure phone lines where you enter the information yourself.” ComEd also won’t shut off our power with only an hour notice.
The Rockford Better Business Bureau has received about 100 calls of the ComEd scam over the last six months. They tell us the 815 area code seems to be the target.
Lauren said speaking with the alleged scammers, didn’t really seem like a scam, but a lot of things didn’t make sense. The people on the other line said they were in Cairo, Egypt and would change their answers to her questions. When we told them this story would be on TV, there was some laughter.