Duke Power Warns Of Phone Scam: Two Carolina Beach Business Called

Duke Power Warns Of Phone Scam: Two Carolina Beach Business Called Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 17 December 2014 05:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Police Department is warning the public about a phone scam that seeks to scare people into parting with money under the guise of paying their electric bill before service is abruptly cut off.
Police Chief Ken Hinkle said recently two local businesses - a restaurant and furniture store - were contacted by phone and reported the suspicious calls to police. Neither company fell for the fraudulent phone calls.
According to Duke Energy officials, under this long running phone scam, a customer receives an unsolicited phone call from an individual who falsely claims to be a Duke Energy representative. The scammer warns that Duke Energy will disconnect the customer’s electric service if the customer fails to make a payment – usually within a short timeframe.
The thief instructs the customer to purchase a “Green Dot” or other branded pre-paid debit card – widely available at retail stores – then call him or her back to supposedly make a payment to Duke Energy.
The scammer asks the customer for the prepaid debit card’s receipt number and PIN number, which grants instant access to the card’s funds. Some of these criminals also use caller ID spoofing to replicate Duke Energy’s
customer service number. They can also become aggressive when questioned about the legitimacy of their calls, and some specifically target Spanish-speaking customers, restaurants and other small businesses.
According to Duke Energy officials, "In reality, 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 prior to electric service disconnection – never just a single notification one hour before disconnection."
Email phishing scam – Duke Energy customers have reported receiving statements via email that claim their “energy bill” is due or past due.
These emails, not connected to Duke Energy’s Paperless Billing program, instructs customers to click on a link to pay their bill. Clicking on the link could result in downloading a virus onto the recipient’s computer or theft of personal information. Customers should avoid clicking links or downloading attachments from businesses or individuals they do not know, and contact Duke Energy directly to discuss their account.
In-person visits – Some customers have reported receiving in-person visits from individuals falsely claiming to be employed by Duke Energy.
Occasionally, Duke Energy may send employees or authorized contractors to a customer’s home or business to perform meter work or some other service. If you ever question whether a person is a legitimate representative of Duke Energy, contact the company directly to verify the identity of the person and reason for the visit.
In some instances, representatives from private companies may be working in an area on behalf of Duke Energy. If these individuals do not have an official identification card, ask for their name and reason for the visit, and then contact Duke Energy to verify the information.
Customers should never allow anyone into their home unless they have verified the person’s identity, or have scheduled the visit through Duke Energy in advance.
Duke Energy employees do not collect payment from customers in the field. Customers should make payments only through the company’s authorized payment channels: online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail or in person.
Duke Energy urges customers who suspect or experience fraud, or feel threatened during contact with one of these thieves, to contact local authorities, then Duke Energy at 1-800-452-2777.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com

 

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