People who are out to illegally take your money are now targeting consumers, by posing as a utility company employee.
Duke Energy is so concerned about the scam, they are broadcasting a warning on radio stations in all their service areas. The message is in Spanish and English.
How the scheme works: According to an email from Duke Energy, customers are getting unsolicited phone calls from an individual who falsely claims to be a Duke Energy representative. The caller threatens to disconnect the customer's electric service if he or she fails to make an immediate payment. The customer is told to make the payment within one hour.
The victim is told to put the money on a prepaid debit card. They are then instructed to call the 'fake utility worker' back and give them the prepaid debit card's receipt number and PIN number, which grants instant access to the card's funds.
Duke Energy reports that the schemers have recently adopted new tactics of using caller ID spoofing to replicate Duke Energy's customer service number, or falsely claiming to be with a third party collection agency representing Duke Energy.
Duke Energy Reminder to customers about their policy:
Duke Energy never asks or requires customers who have delinquent accounts to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid electric service disconnection. Customers can make payments online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail or in person. Duke Energy customers who have delinquent accounts also receive notifications from the company over the course of several weeks prior to electric service disconnection - never just a single notification one hour before disconnection.
The company urges customers who suspect or experience fraud, or feel threatened during contact with one of these thieves, to hang up and call your local police.
Customers should also report the call to Duke Energy by calling one of the following numbers:
- North Carolina/South Carolina customers - 800-777-9898
- North Carolina/South Carolina customers - 800-452-2777
- Ohio/Kentucky customers - 800-544-6900
- Indiana customers - 800-521-2232
- Florida customers - 800-700-8744
Sheriff's Departments have been warning people of the same type of scheme from callers pretending to be with law enforcement.
*Information provided by Duke Energy's Corporate Ofc.
WFMY News 2