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Classified in: Oil industry
Subject: SVY

Tips to Avoid Utility Scams During the Winter Holiday Season

FirstEnergy shares tips to prevent customers from falling victim to common scam tactics

AKRON, Ohio, Nov. 30, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Realizing scammers feed off people's fear of losing heat in the cold weather, FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) is providing customers with scam awareness information to help prevent them from falling victim to scammers during the holiday and winter seasons.

Michelle Henry, senior vice president of Customer Experience at FirstEnergy: "Although scammers work year round, they are more active during colder months because they know customers rely on electricity to stay safe and warm and are more likely to comply due to fear of disconnection. Our goal is to help protect the public from imposters looking to take advantage of customers who are caught off-guard by these very convincing schemes."

In recent years, utilities across the United States have seen increased reports of their customers being contacted by scammers who pose as utility workers to access their financial information or to obtain immediate payment by threatening service interruptions. So far in 2023, FirstEnergy customers have reported more than 1,000 scam attempts to the company. The actual number of scam attempts is even higher since many go unreported to the company or law enforcement.

FirstEnergy's customers can reduce their risk of exposure to utility scammers by keeping the following information in mind:

Earlier this month, Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), a group consisting of more than 150 utilities and related organizations including FirstEnergy, educated the public about the ever-growing list of scams targeting utility customers. Through its work and with the help of customer reporting, UUAS has successfully helped to take more than 13,000 toll-free numbers used by scammers out of operation as of 2022.

The theme of this year's utility scam campaign is "Screen the Search," which reflects the rise in utility impostor scams through digital methods, including search-engine related scams.

Digital scam tactics that customers should be aware of include:

Monica Martinez, executive director of UUAS: "We encourage customers to stop and verify any unusual utility company requests before making a payment, regardless of whether the customer is contacted via phone, internet or in person."

FirstEnergy customers are encouraged to visit firstenergycorp.com/scaminfo periodically for updates and information on emerging scam activity.

FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy on X, formerly known as Twitter, @FirstEnergyCorp or online at firstenergycorp.com.

SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.

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