Utility scams using mobile payment app increase by 150%

Scams targeting users of mobile payment apps such as Cash App, QuickPay, Venmo and Zelle are increasing, the Better Business Bureau and Illinois Commonwealth utility Edison warned Thursday (Feb. 24).

ComEd’s only customers said they were defrauded of at least $27,000 in January 2022, the utilities and consumer protection group reported. The sum was more than 20 times that stolen in payment app fraud from the same customer population in January 2021, according to the warning.

“The ease of use of mobile payment apps has made the process of scamming customers more efficient for imposters,” said Melissa Washington, ComEd’s chief customer officer and senior vice president of customer operations, in a statement. prepare. “As scammers change their schemes, ComEd will be there to alert customers to the latest attempts to extract money and personal information from them.”

Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois, said in a statement, “Scammers continue to add new tools like payment apps to take advantage of victims. unsuspecting. In addition to posing as utility representatives, there are fake calls and emails from IRS, Social Security, and other government officials demanding immediate payments.

“Many of the scams the BBB sees are based on unconventional payment methods. This is the scam tip. Never give out personal information or send money until you have contacted the company directly to verify the status of your account.

The warning says that scammers first contact ComEd customers, usually by phone, but sometimes by text or email, and demand payment of a certain amount to prevent the service from being stopped. The fraudster then asks the victim to pay the bill with a mobile payment application.

ComEd is owned by Chicago-based Exelon Corp. and says it has 10 million electricity and natural gas customers.

Last month, Texas authorities warned residents about parking meter scams using QR codes, which aimed to intercept payments and steal credit card information.

See also: Scammers use fake QR codes on parking meters to hijack payments

The QR code stickers, first identified in San Antonio, Texas, directed users to fraudulent payment portals that have since been taken down.

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