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Watchdog Group Warns Of Electric Rate ‘Slammers’

Electric meter. (CBS)

Electric meter. (CBS)

Mike Parker Mike Parker
Mike Parker has been a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Don’t get scammed or slammed into signing up for alternative electric service you might not want.

CBS 2’s Mike Parker has a warning from the Citizens Utility Board about scammers trying to get your account information.

A guy with a clipboard comes to your door, and asks for a copy of your ComEd bill. Watch out.

“Anybody coming to your doorstep and asking for your account number? They can do a lot of bad things to your account number,” warns CUB spokesman Jim Chilsen.

It happened to Jennifer Peterson last week.

“He said he was from Com Ed,” she said, “but couldn’t provide any ID. I’m not sure exactly what he’s after but it’s definitely not legit.”

It also happened to Rogers Park financial writer Bernard Garbo a few blocks away.

“I said you are not seeing my ComEd bill,” Garbo said. “He said, you don’t have to be rude.”

These approaches are not coming from ComEd, but appear to be by sales staffers from one or more of the independent power middle men now authorized to sign up ComEd customers for discounted electrical service.

“He had no badge on,” Garbo said of the man at his door. “All he did to show that he was with Com Ed, he took the clipboard and flipped it over and there was a photocopy of a ComEd bill.

Why do they want these account numbers?

Chilsen said they can hook you up with one of those alternative electric suppliers without your knowledge.

“It’s a scam called slamming, and we get a lot of complaints that they’ve been slammed.”

The Illinois Attorney General’s office is looking into the many complaints of the practice the office has received.