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FirstEnergy warns of bogus bill collectors

February 10, 2013

AKRON, Ohio — 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 prepaid debit card such as a Green Dot card.

These prepaid cards typically are available at convenience stores and drugstores, 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, the utility said in a news release.

“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,” Ronald I. Green, FirstEnergy vice president, customer service, said in the release.

“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,” he said.

FirstEnergy has numerous bill-payment options, including eBill electronic billing; payment with a credit card; Equal Payment Plan (in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York); Average Payment Plan (in West Virginia and Maryland); pay by phone using FirstEnergy’s automated phone system; pay in person; and pay by mail.

Customers can sign up for these FirstEnergy payment options online at www.firstenergycorp.com, the utility said.

FirstEnergy, with headquarters in Akron, is a diversified energy company. Its 10 electric distribution companies serve customers in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia.

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