Dear PoPville – Possible Pepco Scammers


“Dear PoPville,

There were sets of two young men (early-mid 20s) in suits and clipboards going door to door (at least two sets, more explained below) around 7:30pm Tuesday night. I live in the 1300 blocks in Petworth. The men represented themselves as being from PEPCO and asked my name and to see my utility bill. Their line was that “PEPCO send out an important notification on page 2 of your bill and we are here to make sure you are aware of it.”

Sounded a little fishy and I declined to show them my bill, but I thanked them for bringing it to my attention. I immediately called PEPCO and I was told that there wasn’t any general notification on their bills and that, in any case, they didn’t go door-to-door with that kind of information (much less to ask to see bills). Thinking this might be a scam I thought I should do something to report them, or at least discourage them somewhat.

I called the police, who later arrived and spoke with one pair of the gentlemen. As the police were on the way I received a call back from a dispatcher who said officers were speaking with the two men. I could still see the two men I spoke with working their way down the block and no officers in sight. Speaking to the dispatcher, it appeared there was another group of men going door-to-door.

After the confusion was resolved additional officers arrived and spoke with the two men on my street. The officers later came to me and told me the door-to-door men were “legit”. They may have been, but these men certainly lied to me about who they were and who they represented.

So are these gentlemen scammers or just really aggressive salesmen? I couldn’t know for sure, but I would hate for any of my elderly and perhaps more trusting neighbors to be caught up in some kind of scam.”

12 Comment

  • I’d be interested to know if anyone knows what these people are selling. I’ve had similar experiences in Petworth, they start some spiel about saving on my energy bill, but I always tell them I’m not showing them my bill and that I’m not interested. I always assumed it was some kind of fly by night service they were trying to sign me up for.

  • They’re salesmen trying to get you to switch electric companies. The “important notice” they wanted you to look at is the part on your bill where it says that you’re allowed to use companies other than Pepco to get your electricity. Not a scam, but very aggressive.

  • Not sure how they are legit. This is not the first time these people hit Columbia Heights, and supposedly FBI was investigating these complaints:

  • I had a similar experience about a year ago, but by phone. It seemed legit, but at the same time it was weird and didn’t feel right. I ended up backing out and saying I didn’t want to do it and the woman got really aggressive and kept asking why and then I got an attitude back saying that it seemed sketchy and I wanted no part. It seems sketchy because it’s kind of unclear what they’re selling. After researching it you basically get your energy from other companies and it’s cheaper–supposedly.

    • I agree there are legit energy companies collecting account info door-to-door trying to switch you. However, it doesn’t seem right they pose as Pepco.

      • I agree, and they basically did the same thing on the phone. They started out with: “You should have received something in the mail from Pepco letting you know you can save money.” And that piece of mail supposedly had information about this “program” but I don’t recall ever receiving that mail. It just all seems sketchy.

  • If it’s a legit company they would not ask for the utility bill… they are trying to get your account number so they can charge your account.
    Someone came by asking if I wanted to switch to a cheaper utility company and to look at my bill, it’s a scam for sure… never show anyone your account number or info…

  • agreed that the door-to-door folks sound sketchy. But you can save by switching to a different electrical supplier (you still get a PEPCO bill; it just includes a line for the power you had them buy from a different company). We use Ethical Electrical and now get electricity for a little less money and environmental impact.

  • HaileUnlikely

    I received a similar visit, in Takoma, near Walter Reed, a couple weeks ago, from a woman who was by herself, and represented herself as being from “the power company” or something like that (didn’t say Pepco, nor any other specific name), and implored me to go get my bill to look over it with her. I told her I couldn’t get my bill out at the moment and asked her to just tell me what the purpose of the visit was. She said it was something about me paying too much because I’m on a variable rate plan and the notice informing me of how I could lock in a low rate. I informed her that I am actually on a fixed rate plan, at which point she apologized and left. In any event, I thought it was kind of fishy, but I didn’t report it to the police or anything. I don’t know…maybe I should have.

  • Anyone selling something door to door or via a cold call is a scammer.

  • You absolutely can switch electric suppliers. However, even if some of the deals are not out right fraudulent, they are borderline because many are fishy and want you to switch to a variable rate that is unregulated and can fluctuate wildly. Additionally, these aggressive tactics are suspect. Do your own research, get a fixed, low rate, and don’t trust anyone that comes knocking.

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