Beware Of Power Company Scammers In Hurricane-Hit Areas

Image courtesy of (JoelZimmer)

In addition to all the home-repair and charity scams that pop up in the wake of hurricanes, there appear to be several people out there trying to take advantage of consumers’ displeasure with their local utility companies.

Many of the people knocking on doors in the coming days — full disclosure, I’ve already had two “power company” pop-bys here at Consumerist Philly in just the last few hours — are representatives of actual energy brokers licensed to sell to customers in your area. But some of them are opting for misleading sales methods.

Cosumerist reader Sedo from Queens, NY, writes in to say that his mother just received a visit from someone claiming to be from Con Ed and asking to look at her Con Ed bill.

Since him mom isn’t a native English-speaker, she called Sedo so he could speak to the man at her door.

He tells Consumerist:

“He wanted to make sure she is getting all the savings she get. That sounded like a scam and I asked him whether he is from Con Ed. He actually said ‘Yes.’

“I couldn’t believe him and I asked my mother if she handed him any information. Good thing she did not. Then I told him that my mother threw out all her bills and he said ‘It’s okay then.’

“This is a typical scam, but I can’t believe these people are trying to take advantage of all the hassles and craziness that’s going on in NYC because of the hurricane. We live in Queens and a lot of us are confused and have lost power. There are people who are trying to take advantage of all the confusion. That’s just so wrong.

“I wanted to share this story so that people in Northeast, especially in NYC, tell their families and friends not to be scammed.”

As with all potential scams, the key is to not give anything of use or value to the person at your door. If the person is a legitimate sales person, they will provide you with information that you can research on your own. You do not need to give the sales rep your contact info or any information about your current utility bills.

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