Joe Scheidler is used to personal attacks from abortion advocates and the man who has publicly opposed abortions for decades. He’s faced everything from death threats to vandalism, but a new attack from abortion backers tried a new tactic.
Last week, pro-abortion activists apparently used an identity theft technique to convince the Schidler family’s power company to cancel their account with the power company. Fortunately, the trick didn’t work and the family re-added service and placed a password on the account to prevent it from happening again.
“In our 38 years of pro-life activism, our home on the north side of Chicago has been the target of various kinds of harassment. In the days before caller ID, we received fairly frequent crank phone calls, including a phony call for Ann to come down to the morgue to identify my dead body,” Scheidler said yesterday. “Our home has been picketed, our house and garage spray painted. Last December our front windows were broken by self-proclaimed pro-abortion vandals. But the latest incident may be the most unusual.”
Scheidler goes on to describe what happened:
A week ago we received a letter from ComEd (our electric company), addressed simply to “ComEd Customer,” advising us that ComEd had been providing electricity to our address, but that there was no account connected to the address. The letter recommended correcting this problem online or by phone.
We visited ComEd.com, but the account number we have had for 44 years was no longer recognized by the system. As you can imagine, a phone call to the 800 number resulted in a recorded menu that did not include any mention of receiving the letter that had come to us.
With enough persistence, however, one can actually speak to an agent at ComEd, and we eventually learned that someone had, in fact, called in at 11:21 a.m. on June 20 to cancel our electricity. There was no option for us but to set up a new account.
But the story gets stranger. The day after we set up the new account, our son Joe — who obviously shares my name — got the same peculiar notice addressed to “ComEd Customer.” After nearly an hour on hold with ComEd, Joe learned that someone had canceled his electricity as well. Joe also learned that he could add a password to his ComEd account so that no one could try this trick again.
We have now password-protected our ComEd account too.
I often wonder just how effective our pro-life efforts have been. But when my enemies resort to ridiculous harassment tricks like trying to cut off my electricity, I have to conclude that we must be doing something right.
I guess you can never be totally prepared for the attacks from fanatics that are so committed to keeping abortion legal and unrestricted that they will stoop to silly adolescent stunts and outright vandalism.
Whoever came up with this latest goofy idea did not succeed. ComEd never did stop providing electricity. We didn’t even lose power during all the storms in northern Illinois when thousands of customers were powerless for days on end.
My advice, though, is to add a password to your utility accounts. You never know what your opponents will try next.