PECO Warns Customers About Scammers On The Prowl - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

PECO Warns Customers About Scammers On The Prowl

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PECO has a warning for its customers after scammers targeted businesses and homes including a very popular Philadelphia restaurant.

Russ Cowan, the owner of Famous Fourth Street Delicatessen says his 19th Street store fell victim to a scam. People called the deli claiming to be PECO threatening to shut off power to the restaurant if an outstanding bill was not paid within 20 minutes.

"You always see it on the news this is the first time it's happened to me, "Cowan said. "I said "the receipts there--the bill was paid like two weeks ago.

Cowan says he was out of town when he got a call from his panicked employees around 4-30 p.m. when the store was preparing for the dinner rush.

"They were afraid the power would be shut off so we said "what do we have to do to make sure it doesn't happen," Cowan said.

Cowan says the store manager immediately loaded money onto prepaid debit cards and called the man back with the credit card information.

PECO says since 2011 more than 560 residents and business owners have been targeted by this scam. Roughly 85 have handed over money and the scam artists have netted more than $47,000 from PECO customers alone.

PECO Spokesperson Ben Armstrong says if you get a call from someone claiming to be PECO asking them to verify your account number. Armstrong says the company also follows a series of steps before turning out the lights on our home or business

"We will provide a 10 day termination notice in advance of termination a call within 72 hours of termination--a day of knock on the door," Armstrong said.

Cowan says he knows his money is gone but hopes spreading the word about the scam can help catch these criminals.

"It's tough enough to make money in business to get stung for $1,000 makes it even tougher," Cowan said.

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