Police in McHenry County are warning business owners and residents of a new phone scam in the area involving callers impersonating ComEd representatives.
The McHenry Police Department said on Thursday they recently learned of a new phone scam being attempted in the area.
The scam has been targeting business owners but could also be attempted on homeowners, the department said.
The scam involves a caller who will identify themselves as a Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) representative and say the business needs a new power meter.
The business will be told that the new power meter needs to be purchased at a cost of $1,000 or their power will be turned off immediately.
Police said the scammer assures the business that if there has been an error and the power meter is not needed the money will be returned.
Business owners and residents are urged to take steps when receiving a call from someone claiming they are a representative of an organization, police said.
It is recommended to ask for the caller’s full name, job title, employee ID number and phone extension number.
Residents are also recommended to tell the caller they will contact the company’s customer service number to verify the information they have given them.
“Do not use any phone number the caller provides you – it will very likely not be an actual phone number for the company they are pretending to represent,” police said.
The legitimate customer service number can be found online or on a past bill.
“Tell them you are calling to verify that the person who called is a employee of their business and that the issue they described (needing a new power meter in this case) is real,” the department said.
Scammers will try to keep callers on the phone and threaten them with a negative consequence, such as turning off the power to their business or home, to try to keep them on the line.
“They do this to make it impossible for you to verify the information you are being given and to keep you in a stressful state of mind,” police said.
Anyone who has been the victim of a scam and needs to file a police report should contact their local law enforcement agency.