The Potomac Electric Power Co. has issued a warning to Washington area residents to check the identification of people claiming to be Pepco servicemen who come to the door and ask for payment.
Two elderly victims in the Upper Marlboro area lost more than $700 last week to three men who came to their homes and claimed to be employes of the utility, according to Pepco and Prince George's police.
The men reportedly were driving a red-and-black jeep and, in one case, had pinned badges to their shirts saying they worked for Pepco. They asked to enter the house and check the electric service in the home. At the conclusion of the visit, the men asked for payment.
In one case, they received $135 from an 84-year-old woman. In the second case, they received $400 from a 71-year-old man. When he said he wouldn't give the men any more money until he made a telephone call, they ripped out the phone wires, hit the victim in the head with a brick and ransacked the living room.
Police reports indicate they took an additional $235 from the man before leaving.
The same men apparently attempted to enter a third home in the Upper Marlboro area but were refused entry by the young woman who answered the door, Pepco said. And, in a fourth case, men claiming to be Pepco service men approached an elderly couple in Charles County but failed to get any money from them, law enforcement officials said.
Pepco officials emphasize that their servicemen don't collect money from customers for repair work. The official identification for Pepco workers is a laminated card the size of a credit card and includes a color photo of the employe.
To confirm the identification of a utility service man before allowing him into the home, a customer can call the company at 833-7500 to see if a repairman has been sent.