Property managers are advised to forward this information on to tenants and residents.
Several Illinois residents have reported receiving phony telemarketing phone calls from scammers claiming to work for the electric utility or an alternate retail electric service provider. Scammers are still trying to trick consumers into sharing personal and financial information with them. The personal information obtained through these schemes is used to switch electric service providers without the consumer’s consent. This is a fraudulent illegal practice known as slamming.
Although the Illinois Citizens Utility Board posted the following notification back in May of 2014, these deceptive sales practices are still occurring at a high rate. CUB’s Jim Chilson, communications director, says, “We’re getting complaints from power shoppers who thought they were signing up for one deal but then got slammed with some of the highest electric rates we’ve ever seen from alternative suppliers. Illinois’ electric market is undergoing major changes right now, and our report shows that customers are paying dearly for it.”
Scammers may trick consumers by cold-calling them and claiming to work for the utility; saying they need to confirm account information to avoid service interruptions. Or they may tell customers that they’ve qualified for a special discounted rate. There have even been reports of door-to-door salespersons, disguising themselves as representatives of the utility or another supplier. They try to trick customers into showing them a copy of their utility bill. Unless you’ve initiated the visit, you’re better off not opening the door.
One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from falling victim to this situation is to notify all members of your household to never give out personal or financial information over the phone or email. Never give out your utility bill account numbers, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or any bank account information.
Think you’ve been slammed? Be sure to file a complaint with your state’s Commerce Commission or Public Utility Commission, and/or your state’s Attorney General’s Office.
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