Scammers often pick up their efforts during times of high inflation. They’ll tell you that if you switch and purchase your electricity supply from them, you’ll save tons of money. Sometimes, they aren’t being truthful. We want you to stay vigilant and know how to identify scammers, so you can stop them in their tracks.
Some of the deceptive and misleading tactics that energy marketing scammers use include:
- Misrepresenting themselves
- Misrepresenting supplier status
- Misrepresenting facts
- Misrepresenting pricing
- Misrepresenting their true intentions
We want to help keep you and your personal information safe. Here’s what you need to know:
- We DO NOT market or sell supplier services by phone or door-to-door.
- Don’t always trust your caller ID.
- Only return messages and calls from us at our official phone number: 1-800-342-5775.
- Create an online account.
- Update your account with a security PIN or password and NEVER give it to anyone who calls you.
- Keep your email address and phone number up to date.
Find out more details about how to protect yourself at pplelectric.com/scams.
It’s a tradition that has been around since the early 1700s and every year, as the calendar flips to April, many prepare elaborate jokes to play on one another. But just as your zany siblings or friends attempted to fool you growing up, there are many people in this world today who are looking to fool you out of your hard-earned money.
That’s why we’re urging you to stay vigilant and prevent utility scammers who use deceptive tactics to fool you into giving up your money or switching to a higher-cost electricity supplier. Remember, scammers never take a day off and they are always looking for the next opportunity to trick you, whether it’s April Fools’ Day or not.
If you receive a call or email asking about your electric bill or electricity supplier, it’s important to make sure you know the warning signs of a scam. Here are a few things to look out for:
- Don’t give into threats: “We’ll shut off your service if you don’t pay us immediately.” Scammers say this, we don’t. If you are at risk of losing service, we’ll notify you and won’t surprise you with a phone call threatening imminent shutoff. Plus, we have programs and payment agreements to help pay your bill until you can catch up.
- Pay attention to payment methods: We will never require you to pay with a gift card, prepaid card, Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency.
- Watch out for spam: Today’s scammers will use lookalike logos or trademarks to fool you. So, when you open an email, be sure it’s coming from us before you click on anything.
- Don’t always trust caller ID: Scammers can make it look like a phone call is coming from our phone number. If you suspect the caller might not really be us, hang up immediately and verify your account information at pplelectric.com.
Sometimes, scammers knock on doors or could even confront you while in a public place. If a marketer stops you, remember the following tips:
- We’re not salespeople: We do not market or sell supplier services door-to-door. If a solicitor claims to represent PPL Electric, tell them you’re busy and can’t speak. Then contact us directly. Most importantly, don’t provide any personal information to them.
- Take your time: As part of intimidation tactics, scammers may press you to act quickly. Stop, slow down and end the conversation. Reach out to us directly to confirm any details mentioned during the conversation or the status of your bill.
- Ask for identification: All of our employees carry an ID badge and are required to show you their ID when asked. So, if they can’t produce a badge, shut the door.
Whether it’s an email, phone call or knock at the door, it never hurts to be mindful. Combine these general tips with those mentioned above to avoid scams:
- Update your PPL Electric account with a security PIN or password and never give it to anyone who calls you. That way, when you call us, we can ask for your PIN or password to make sure it’s really you and you’re authorized to talk about the account.
- Sign up for an online account at pplelectric.com to always have access to your information. You can sign up in three easy steps and view your bill status, electricity supplier information, overall usage and more.
- Remember, we deliver your power, but in Pennsylvania you can shop around for the electricity supplier that is right for you. Find helpful shopping tips and information you can use to get started at pplelectric.com/shopsmart.
The best way to prevent yourself from falling victim to a scam is to stay informed and be vigilant. And, if anything seems even slightly off about a situation, feel free to get in touch with us. For more information and tips about utility scams, visit pplelectric.com/scams.
We’re joining the Federal Trade Commission to recognize National Consumer Protection Week and the continuing efforts to educate customers on scams.
We’re helping to work across the industry with our fellow utility partners, regulators, and law enforcement to stop scams for good. The bottom line is we have your back.
National Consumer Protection Week is a chance to raise awareness on this important issue.
When it comes to potential scam activity, be aware of these tactics:
- Threats to immediately shut-off your service
- Requests for payment with a prepaid card or digital payment app
- Spam emails with lookalike logos or trademarks
- Caller ID displaying our phone number, but the caller sounds suspicious
If a marketer calls or knocks at your door, remember:
- We do not market or sell supplier services by phone or door-to-door. If the solicitor claims to represent PPL, check your online account or call us directly before providing any personal info.
- Don’t always trust caller ID. Scammers can make it look like PPL is calling. If you suspect the caller might not really be PPL, hang up.
- Update your PPL account with a security PIN or password and never give it to anyone who calls you. We will ask for your PIN and password when you call us to make sure it’s really you.
- And if you’re interested in shopping for an electricity supplier, you can find all the info you need on our secure website: pplelectric.com/shopsmart.
Let’s spread the word about scams so we can stop them for good!
What does a utility scam look like? We think these emojis will help you remember!
If you know what to watch for, you’ll never have to look worried, like this:
# # # # #
“Pay now or we’ll cut you off.”
Scammers say this; we don’t. If you are at any risk of losing service, we’ll give you plenty of notice. You won’t be surprised by a phone call threatening imminent shutoff.
# # # # #
“Go get a prepaid card.”
Scammers often insist that you have to pay with prepaid cards or digital payment apps, because it’s convenient for them. We don’t pressure you to use these types of payments.
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“This is a fee to connect your meter.”
Scammers sometimes make this claim. Any meter-related costs you have to pay are included as part of your bill. There’s no extra fee to get a meter fixed, replaced or connected.
# # # # #
“But I said–” *click*
Don’t be scared, pressured or intimidated by scam phone calls. Just hang up. Call your local police if you feel threatened.
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Want to make sure your account is not overdue?
For peace of mind, you may want to verify your account is in good standing after receiving a scam call. To do that, log on at pplelectric.com, to check your account status.
On one front, this year is picking up right where 2020 left off: Scammers are still on the prowl.
We – as well as other utilities across the country – are seeing an increase in fraud and deceptive marketing tactics so far in 2021.
Here’s the good news: We’re all getting smarter when it comes to spotting a scam, and we want you to know the warning signs so you can keep your peace of mind – and your pocketbook – intact.
Have you ever received a call allegedly from PPL promising you a better rate for your electricity supply? Scammers are savvy. They can make their calls display PPL’s phone number on your caller I.D. But surely, it wasn’t us.
Maybe you received a threatening text message with a link to pay your electric bill to avoid a shut-off. The text may have offered a digital payment option. Again, that wasn’t us!
Or, worst-case scenario, someone who claimed they were from PPL showed up on your doorstep, in the middle of a pandemic, and offered you a fantastic deal on your electricity supply. Like your parents always said, if someone offers you a deal that’s too good to be true, it almost always is. And that individual certainly was NOT from PPL.
How do we know these weren’t PPL employees making these claims? Because we don’t do business that way. We never market on behalf of electricity suppliers, and we never make threats. If you’re behind on your bill, we’ll discuss options with you and develop a payment agreement to keep your lights on. We’ll never demand immediate cash to avoid shutoff.
If you’re concerned that you might be the target of a scam, be sure to log in to your secure online PPL account to verify what the caller is telling you. You can easily check your rate, verify any amounts due and make payments through our secure systems. If you need help setting up your account, call us at 1-800-342-5775.
Want more tips on how to spot fraud and deceptive marketing? Check out pplelectric.com/scams.