Monday, July 15, 2019 Elyria 88°

Cops and Courts

FirstEnergy 'scam' wasn't scam after all


ELYRIA — An Elyria Police Department alert about a possible fake utility worker trying to collect money from a resident earlier this month has been resolved — it turned out the worker was a legitimate field collector for FirstEnergy.

Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino said officers took a report from a resident of Oakwood Drive regarding a possible fraud June 5.

The resident said at 3:30 p.m. that day, a man who identified himself as a FirstEnergy employee showed up at her house and requested she pay on a delinquent account. The man was wearing a FirstEnergy hard hat and had paperwork with the customer’s correct information, according to Elyria police.

When the woman’s son came home, he told officers he had checked with the company and was told their employees do not go door-to-door seeking payment and that his account was up to date and not delinquent, police said.

Elyria police then passed the information about a possible scam on to the public.

A FirstEnergy spokesperson contacted Elyria police Monday to let them know that a FirstEnergy field collector had gone to the residence to seek payment for the delinquent account to avoid a same-day shutoff of the electricity, police said.

According to FirstEnergy, Ohio Edison customers who are behind on their accounts will receive written notices of possible disconnection and information on how to prevent it, then after several failed attempts to collect payment will receive a visit from a FirstEnergy field collector carrying company-issued photo ID.

“In the recent Elyria incident, a FirstEnergy field collector arrived to the customer’s home, notified the customer of their past-due account and provided the balance that needed to be paid to avoid a service disconnection,” FirstEnergy wrote in a statement provided along with an Elyria police news release. “The employee accepted $50 from the customer as part of an installment plan to avoid a same-day shut off, and the customer was given a receipt from FirstEnergy acknowledging the partial payment was received.”

FirstEnergy employees always will carry company-issued photo ID, and field collectors will not come to the door unless the customer is behind on payments. More information for customers to avoid being scammed can be found at www.firstenergy

Elyria police and FirstEnergy encouraged residents to always err on the side of caution when dealing with solicitors or people who identify themselves as utility company employees. Anyone with questions about the identity of an employee or the status of their account may call FirstEnergy’s Contact Center at (800) 633-4766.

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