Dear PoPville – Heads Up for Fake Pepco Scammers

Photo by PoPville flickr user Vileinist

Dear PoPville,

Just a heads-up that there are some scammers out in Petworth today posing as pepco salesmen. WAMU ran this story about them last week.

“A regional scam is hitting one D.C. neighborhood as crooks falsely posing as utility workers are targeting Columbia Heights.

There have been multiple reports from residents who say a stranger has shown up on their doorstep, claiming to be from a utility, according to Pepco. The so-called representative arrives unannounced and asks for account information and entry into the home.”

29 Comment

  • This is true, they are now operating in the U Street area. They were here this morning telling us some bogus story and trying to get access to our backyard.

  • saf

    They are not fake Pepco scammers. They are salesmen from alternative energy providers.

    Still sleazy, but not “fake Pepco scammers.”

    • It seems that both are going on. But a legitimate altnerative energy provider will not need access to your home or your Pepco account information. If you are interested in alternative energy providers, the best thng to do is take their information, and check them out on the DC Public Service Commission website.

      The PSC website provides the “Price to Compare”for each energy provider in DC, updated on a monthly basis. the Price to Compare is the average generation and transmission price per kilowatt-hour. Note that distribution service will still be provided by Pepco. This is a better way to decide on an alternative energy supplier than door-to-door sales anyway.

      The FAQ website (for electric, gas can also be found on the PSC website) is here, and has links to the price to compare:

    • If they say they work for Pepco though and ask for account information, which no employee of any company should ask for, them I think that would qualify as being a scam.

    • They are PEPCO scammers – if you are talking about the folks that call you. They identified as PEPCO, but then wanted our account number. We called PEPCO, and they told us these were alternate providers but they didn’t identify as such to me or my partner.

      Sleazy shit going down around here.

  • Thanks for posting, Dan! These guys targeted my block at 10th and W this morning. They identified themselves as Pepco and were extremely rude. They left abruptly when I told them I wouldn’t give them access to my patio or sign their clipboard. Creepy and rude.

  • They’ve been by our house here in Petworth twice this week, and I saw 5 of them walking north up New Hampshire past Shepherd going door to door.

  • FYI: I’ve also received phone calls from someone claiming to work for Pepco who asks for account and address information.

  • Someone from a company called Starion Energy knocked on my door last week (I live in Petworth). I looked them up after they left and they are a legit company. I didn’t listen to their spiel though – I seriously hate it when salespeople knock on your door. I hear about so many scams I don’t trust anyone.

    • The Starion guy didn’t even have a business card, or any brochures. I wasn’t going for it. I was able to help him figure out the correct bus route out of Petworth, though. 😛

      I did some research later on, and I’m still not entirely sure what Starion does. They aren’t an energy provider. The closest I can figure is that they claim to be able to get a quantity discount off of Pepco and can pass the savings on to their customers. However, based on the complaints I saw, people ended up paying more, rather than less.

  • I had someone knock on my door … they gave me the impression they were from Pepco & did not clearly identify themselves as who they really were, but I found out that they were from Starion Energy. I don’t know anything about Starion Energy, but it was all kind of sketchy.

  • figby

    Why do they want access to your yard?

  • I’ve had several dealings with these alternative energy suppliers, they have Pepco badges around their necks because they have to do some of their work out of the Pepco building, but if you look closely it says on the badge they do not work for Pepco. They say they work for pepco and just need you to sign a few papers to get you a new lower rate, then if you say ok, they ask for your last invoice so they can show you how the rate will be different. The real reason they ask for the invoice is to get your account number without having to ask you for it.
    I let it go twice all the way til I the time I was to sign the papers, just to see what the full scam was. basically they switch your energy supply to their company and since the bill still comes from Pepco they hope you don’t notice. I reported it both times to Pepco and the BBB but after assurances that it was ‘great that I reported it’ and ‘its a big problem right now’, never heard anything back.

    • Don’t report to the BBB, report it to the DC Public Service Commission. They take that type of stuff more seriously.

  • They have tried hitting up the Cleveland Park area as well.

  • Two guys got into our building and went door to door a few months ago. The one who knocked on my door said he worked for a Pepco contractor and needed to see my bill to verify that I “was getting the new lower rate.” As my BS radar went off, I told him to wait outside my door while I went to find the bill. Instead I called 911 and they said they’d send an officer over. When I went back to the door I told the guy his story seemed a little fishy so I called the police to have them come and verify that he was a Pepco contractor. It was surprising how quickly he and his friend made it out of our building. The cop showed up a few minutes later, but I doubt he found them.

  • We’ve had two visitors in the past 3 months. Both were really pleasant guys who didn’t “seem” like they were out to cause trouble. They said much of what’s been said here – wanted to see our bills to verify the rate we’re getting, etc. I think it was just electric the first time, but the second guy mentioned Washington Gas too.

    We shooed them away, but I never felt threatened or like I was being scammed. Just felt like they were working for some low-budget alternate energy supplier who only pays these guys commissions, so they have a lot of incentive to get people signed up.

  • Same scam in Mount Vernon square. Someone got into my apartment complex and cornered my roommate while she was getting the mail. When they asked to see our energy bill, she told them that I handle it. They asked her when I would be home, and if they could come by in a few hours. It made her feel extremely uncomfortable and threatened, and we’ve been keeping an eye out in case they come back. They got our apartment number off our mailbox.

  • A group of these people actually have begun renting the home next to mine in Petworth. An alternative energy company started renting the home out about 2 months ago and is basically just warehousing bodies. There has been at least 10-15 folks in and out since they moved to town from NY. When they first arrived and we were on the porch they explained how their whole promotion works…seemed like a scam to me.

    • Allison

      You should probably let the police–or at the very least DCRA–know that they are operating this shady business out of a residential apartment and where.

      • what specifically do you think the police can or should do about something like this?

        • Allison

          The police may be keeping track of these kinds of reports as part of a larger investigation into whether something criminal is going on. Whenever someone knocks on the door and misrepresents who they are in order to gain information about your or access your property, that calls for police notification, I think.

          • Definitely. While the police may not be able to take any specific action at this point in time, these types of activities should be on their radar screen, in case it gets to a point down the line where they need to know the history/backstory in order to build an investigation (or refer the case to another agency to do the same).

    • Where in Petworth are you?

  • tonyr

    I’ve never been bothered by anything like this at my place (in Shaw). I feel kind of left out. I keep getting calls from the Scientologists in LA, so I do take some solace from that.

    • What’s you address? I have a nice set of knives that I could sell you… 🙂 And have you heard the good news about Jesus?

  • I don’t even open for “real” Pepco employees.

  • ThunderCheese

    This happened to me last year in Lanier Heights, except they claimed to be from Washington Gas. They wanted to see my account information to see if they could save me money. I said no. They left.

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