Police in Upper Darby warn against solicitors asking to see your personal bills

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Police in Delco warn against solicitors asking to see your personal bills
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Police in Delco warn against solicitors asking to see your personal bills. Watch the report from Katie Katro on Action News at 4:30 p.m. on June 18, 2019.

UPPER DARBY, Pa. (WPVI) -- Many residents in Upper Darby are concerned after some solicitors in town have been aggressive, asking to see residents' personal bills.

"What triggered me was, 'can I see your PECO bill,'" said Tamara Manning, from Upper Darby.

She said on June 10th, a man came to her front porch asking to see her PECO bill. She said she was at work at the time, but was able to talk to the man through her surveillance video on her front porch.

She posted the video online, which has garnered many comments from neighbors who said this has happened to them too.

The surveillance video shows the man on Manning's porch on Bond Avenue, introducing himself as an employee with Direct Energy. However he doesn't display any form of identification, and the first question he asked Manning was to see her PECO bill.

"If you just grab any copy of the PECO bill, I'll just double check the rates on the second page and I can get you marked off," the man said.

"No I'm good," said Manning.

But the man didn't leave. He asked her two more questions, and then left.

Manning hasn't been the only neighbor experiencing this. Joe Gray said a woman came to his front door asking to see his PECO bill.

"I said, 'Where are you from?' She said, 'The city.' I said, 'Well, this isn't the city.' She said, 'Well, I meant the township.' I said, 'Well, where's your badge at?' She said, 'I forgot it,'" said Gray.

Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said each person who wants to solicit in Upper Darby needs to pay a $200 yearly fee for a license, and they have to wear that identification around their neck.

"One of the problems we have in Upper Darby, we have solicitors - in particular energy companies that are soliciting right now," said Chitwood.

Chitwood said these solicitors tend to target elderly people. He said you should call police if they become aggressive.

Since seeing the video, Direct Energy has suspended the employee seen in the surveillance video.

Direct Energy sent Action News this statement:

"Direct Energy takes any concerns raised about our sales practices very seriously, and require that all our vendors ensure all agents are compliant. Our representatives are required to clearly identify themselves as being with Direct Energy, both verbally and also by wearing the appropriate badging and professional attire. This particular agent did not follow our protocols based on the video and has been suspended."

Afia Ohene-Frempong, a PECO spokesperson, said PECO does not solicit door-to-door sales, and warned against showing someone your account number. She said your account number is private information, and someone could use that number to switch your service to another provider.