FirstEnergy warns customers about debit card payment scam

FirstEnergy Corp. utilities are warning customers about a scam involving a telephone caller posing as an electric utility company employee threatening to shut off power unless an immediate payment is made using a pre-paid debit card such as a Green Dot card.

These pre-paid cards typically are available at convenience stores and drug stores and can be used by consumers to pay bills or add money to online accounts. However, Green Dot cards are not officially sanctioned by FirstEnergy as a bill payment method.

“Customers should know that if they get a call from someone demanding payment of their electric bill by using a Green Dot card they are being scammed and should report the crime to local authorities,” said Ronald I. Green, vice president, customer service, FirstEnergy. “While we may phone a customer whose bill is in arrears in order to remind them that a payment is due, we would explain how a payment can be made using established payment options.”

FirstEnergy has numerous bill payment options, including:

·      eBill Electronic Billing — Customers can receive their bill and make payments electronically.

·      Pay with a credit card.

·      Equal Payment Plan (in Ohio, Pa, N.J. and N.Y.) — Uniform bill payments can be made to avoid seasonal fluctuation of payment amounts.

·      Average Payment Plan (in W.Va and Md.) — For residential customers who wish to level out their bill payments.

·      Pay by phone using FirstEnergy’s automated phone system.

·      Pay in Person — Customers may make payments, for a nominal fee per transaction, at any authorized payment agent location. Fees may vary by individual location.

·      Pay by Mail — Customers may choose to receive their bill in the mail and make a payment the same way.

FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia. Its generation subsidiaries control more than 20,000 MW of capacity from a mix of coal, nuclear, natural gas, hydro, pumped-storage hydro and other renewables.

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