Florence County business owner loses $1,500 in Duke Energy scam

Florence County business owner loses $1,500 in Duke Energy scam (Image 1)

At Jeanne’s Mart and Grill, business has been pretty good.

“I’ve stayed in business for 10 years so I’m doing something,” said owner Jeanne Lee, who is also a grandmother.

The smell of cooked food and constant ringing of the phones are signs enough.

However on Monday, the store received an unexpected call.

“I’ve never had anything happen like this happen…but I hope it never happens again,” Lee said as she shook her head.

“They wanted to speak to me.  They gave my name and they said that this was Duke Energy and that I needed to pay my light bill or my lights were going to be disconnected in 30 to 45 minutes,” she added.

The man on the phone said she owed $1,500, roughly about two months’ worth of electric bills.

From there he told her to put the money on prepaid reloaded cards.

“And all I could think about is getting this light bill paid.  And I’m thinking about getting back to Lake City to get my grand kids from school,” Lee explained.

With the money sent, Lee couldn’t help but to second guess herself.

“I went straight to my bank statements found where I made my payments…February, March,” she stated.

When she called back she found out that she owed another $1,400, later finding out from Duke Energy that she had been scammed.

“It hurts, it hurts,” said Lee.

For Duke Energy, it says this is an all too familiar story; from the same phone scams, emails and even in person visits.

Back in November, the company partnered with fellow utility companies along with the attorney general and consumer affairs to bring awareness to the issue.

However, for Lee it was a hard lesson to learn.

“Always second guess it, double check it.  Go with your gut your gut instinct,” she added.

Duke Energy told News13 it will never ask for payments on prepaid cards.

Also they don’t give customer this type of short notice.

They advise customers to never confirm or give out any information.

If you suspect you are being scammed please call your local authorities.

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