Co-Op: Scammer Tampering with Power Meters - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Co-Op: Scammer Tampering with Power Meters

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The Delaware Electric Co-op and state police are concerned about an uncommon and potentially dangerous scam involving power meters. Co-op officials say someone has been tampering with meters across Delmarva, not just in its service area.

The scammer tells people he can save them money on their electric bill.

Homes and businesses have power meters attached to them. They monitor the building's energy use and allow the power company to know how much to charge a customer. The ones affected by this scam were reporting an amount far lower than the actual amount used.

"[The scammer offered] to install this magical device on people's homes that can save 50 percent on your electric bill. Obviously a device like that doesn't exist. This is a scam," said Jeremy Tucker, a spokesman for DEC.

Tucker says the coop recently found out this had happened to one of its customers.

"We went out. We checked the meter. Indeed it had been tampered with, uh, and it turns out more than $1,000 in electricity hadn't been reported."

Tucker says there may be as many as 100 to 150 instances of this across Delmarva and finding affected meters is tough because they look normal from the outside and most reading now happens remotely.

He says the co-op isn't going after the people who were conned. It's interested in police finding the perpetrator.

That hunt could start with a flyer that is an altered version of a different flyer for a legitimate company. The scam flyer is full of typos, like "residentail homes" and "electic bill."

It lists contact info at the bottom. WBOC called the available phone number but did not get an answer.

tucker says it's important to find those responsible, because tampering with a meter is not only illegal, it's dangerous.

"Worst case scenario - somebody tampering with the meter could cause a fire or electrical failure," he said.

If you think you've had something like this happen to you, tucker says it's important to call your power company.

Officials at Delmarva Power also say the company is working with police in their effort to catch the criminals in this case.

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