PoP PSA – Pepco impersonator still out there

Photo by PoPville flickr user Nikoo’s Photos

Back on Feb. 2 a reader first brought this up in the forum. Sadly, it seems, the Pepco impersonator has not been caught yet. A reader forwards a note from a Springperry (Columbia Heights) listserv:

Apparently the Pepco impersonator was working the 1500 block of Spring Place yesterday. A neighbor (who had not seen the email warning that appeared on the list serve earlier this month) said that he flashed a very fake looking ID with no photo and then asked to see his Pepco bill. This is a positive confirmation that this person is definitely a con artist. My neighbor called Pepco, who confirmed that this person is not legit, but apart from that Pepco was not very helpful. Beware everyone and if you have elderly neighbors who don’t have email please be sure to warn them!! Should we call the police if we see him again and will they even come out for something like this? Anyone have any suggestions?

Def. call the police if anyone encounters this guy.

26 Comment

  • it’s possible – indeed likely – that this is not a criminal, but rather someone trying to sell an alternative energy supplier. perhaps he is not selling very effectively, but that’s almost certainly what it is. if it was a criminal, what’s his crime? to steal your Pepco account number? seriously?

    • The reader that brought this up before (see PoP’s link above) stated that the person who came to the door identified himself as a Pepco employee, so that would not have been what you suggest. The letter above doesn’t state how the person identified himself, so it’s not clear in that case.

      And are you really saying that you don’t have a problem with someone knocking on doors pretending to be someone they’re not and asking to see personal bills? Technically not a crime maybe, but it’s totally sketchy and should be discouraged in any way possible.

      • as others are now noting in the comments, it looks very likely that this is a pushy salesman from another energy provider, not a “con artist.”

        • I’m not sure I would draw that conclusion from the comments, but that’s just me. Either way (con artist or pushy salesman) I don’t want them knocking on doors in my neighborhood.

        • I think in this case they’re one and the same. Kind of like those scammers who call offices saying something like “Hi, I’m from your copier service company, and we need to confirm your copier serial number.” You do that, and a few weeks later a truckload of crappy toner shows up with an astronomical bill. This guy sounds like he’s trying to pass himself off as affiliated with Pepco in order to get people’s account numbers. Once you give it over, you’ll get switched to an alternate supplier, whether that’s what you intended or not.

          • now THAT is a good and interesting point, and answers the question of what a criminal could possibly want with your Pepco bill. This sounds like a job for the Attorney General more than a beat cop – some company is fielding a sales team that is involved in rampant fraud, apparently.

    • Nope, it’s definitely not a Pepco employee.

  • I don’t understand why anyone answers the door anymore when they’re not expecting anyone (guests, contractors, etc). 99% of the time the doorbell rings unexpectedly, it’s someone who wants something that I don’t want to give them. My suggestion: stop answering the door.

    That may be a little harsh but when Girl Scouts and do-gooders became outnumbered exponentially by scammers and sketchy people, I stopped feeling bad about ignoring the doorbell.

  • He came by my place a couple days ago. I did not give him any information, of course, but he did look pretty legit to me. He was wearing a Pepco badge (with picture) and a Pepco hat and shirt. I also don’t see why thieves would target Pepco account numbers unless they could somehow be used as a gateway to broader identity theft. But, his whole story smells bad. Why on earth would Pepco need to to see a copy of my bill to determine anything when they have all that in their databases?

  • If I had to guess, they aren’t targeting pepco account numbers, which you can’t do anything with. The Pepco thing is simply a believable and reasonable cover for people casing your home in the middle of the day.

    Cleveland Park had (what seems like) a similar con going about 7-8 years ago. Guy(s) with photoshoped badges would go house to house in the middle of the day knocking on doors pretending to sell magazines for a company. Houses where people were home he would give some fluffly half hearted story about selling magazines. Once they went through a neighborhood a few times and the same houses were empty at the same times, they would simply break in.

    The ring got caught after 4-5 months of this. Cleveland Park is a horrible place to do this because there are a lot of older retired, stay at home/ work from home folks which is how they eventually got caught.

    • I agree that they may have been casing the houses, considering that I didn’t answer the first time and 10 minutes later the guy was back on my porch

  • A couple months ago we had someone come to our door and say they were from the energy company (we assumed pepco) and they also flashed credentials and asked to see our bill to make sure it had been corrected (pepco had overcharged us several hundred dollars after they installed the smart meter so we didn’t think of this as very suspicious) and then they tried to get us to switch over to a new power provider. They talked very quickly and said that we needed to call right now to get a better deal and that if we waited to verify the rates he was telling us then he wouldn’t get the commission and would lose his job. We told him to go away but he started off very convincing – and we like to think that we are rather savvy consumers.

  • Someone came to my door a few months ago and said the same thing. My radar went up immeditiately. I was thinking why would a PEPCO employee need to see my bill to verify something that PEPCO itself generated. I declined to share the information with said individual.

  • I actually called the Park Road police substation and they told me that since it was 1 block south it was out of their area (Seriously? how are these new police districts set up? Shouldn’t a station be in the middle?).

    Anyways I called the other station and then they told me to hang up and call 911. I did and they never came. No wonder they haven’t caught them!

    Btw. I took a photo of his badge.

  • A few weeks ago a pair of guys came to my door in Shaw. Sounds like the same thing. They said they could lower one the elements on my Pepco bill by 25%. When I asked if they were selling anything, they said no. They asked to see my bill. When I told them I didn’t have it, they suggested I look it up online. I told them I wouldn’t. They were unbelievably pushy. I told them to give me something in writing. They handed me a one-sheet xeroxed page. It was from an energy supplier and they wanted me to sign a contact with them. None of this was said by the guys at the door. I told them I wouldn’t be making any decisions that night. They said they’d be back until they had gotten a commitment from everyone in the neighborhood.

    I think it’s a very hard sell to switch energy providers–but done in a very shady way. Had they come back, I would have told the guy he outright lied to me. His answers to my questions did not jibe with the info on the paper he gave me.

  • A guy rang my doorbell around 7 p.m. last night (Tuesday the 21st).

    I didn’t open the door (since I hadn’t yet locked the security door in front of it), but I pulled aside the fabric covering the glass so I could see who it was, talk, etc.

    I don’t think he identified himself as a Pepco employee per se, but he said something like, “Have you received your Pepco [or maybe he said ‘electricity’?] discount card yet?” and held up a laminated thing that read “Constellation Energy.”

    Because of previous discussions on this forum, I knew he was trying to get me to sign up with an alternate energy provider. So I said, “I’m not interesting in signing up for Constellation Energy at this time,” closed the fabric curtain, and went on my way.

    • Constellation Energy is the same one that came by with a phony badge and phone number. It was a 25-35 yr b/m and a younger 25-30yr b/f working the other side of the street. Sadly that was 3 weeks ago in the same area so it appears they are still wandering around.

      • Yeah, the guy who came to my door last night was a black male in his 20s.

        In retrospect I probably should have reported him to the police, but (as I said) I don’t think he actually claimed to be from Pepco.

    • saf

      They are back in the 3800 block of 10th for the fifth time this week right now.

  • He came to my house in the 1300 block of Kenyon.
    It was NOT legit.

  • “This is a positive confirmation that this person is definitely a con artist”

    Not really.

    However, my best guess is that he’s someone working for one of the alternative energy suppliers, soliciting door-to-door to get people to switch energy companies. They usually insinuate they’re “with the electric company” and ask for a copy of the bill to “see if we can save you money.”

    It screams scammy, but it’s a legit service that uses some scammy tactics to get sales. The salesmen may work on commission, which would explain it.

  • I’m not sure if this guy is legit or not but he was trolling the Petworth neighborhood this evening. Actually, there were two of them tonight. One was taller in blue coat and matching winter cap. The other was average height and build with an olive or green coat. I called 911 and reported it to the police. If it’s legit so be it. If not, the police have at least one report. My first thought was using my Pepco account to steal my identity.

  • The guy came to my BF’s door last night around 7 at kansas and randolph, asking if he had heard about pepco’s new low rates, and having read the PoP post, my bf just slammed the door in his face before the guy could ask about account numbers or anything. My bf unfortunately did not call the police, but I just wanted to include another sighting, as the guy seems to be working the whole CH/Petworth area…

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