Duke Energy customers target of delinquent account scam

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The Horry County Police Department says Duke Energy warns that some of their customers have been targeted and scammed by thieves pretending to represent the company.

As thieves become more sophisticated, we have to focus on combating this crime and help potential victims identify signs of scam activity.

In the Duke Energy scam a customer receives an unsolicited phone call from someone claiming to be a Duke Energy representative. The scammer warns that Duke Energy will disconnect their electricity unless the customer makes an immediate payment.

Scammers even duplicate Duke Energy’s voice mail, so when customers call back phone numbers provided by the scammer, it sounds like a legitimate Duke Energy phone number. Some of them also use caller-ID spoofing to replicate Duke Energy’s customer service number and make it appear as though the call came from a legitimate Duke Energy telephone number.

If you get a phone call like these, please keep these things in mind.

If any of these things happen hang up immediately.

  • The thief becomes angry and tells the customer his or her account is past due and service will be disconnected if a large payment isn’t made – usually within less than an hour.
  • Customers with delinquent accounts will receive an advance disconnection notification with the regular monthly bill – never a single notification one hour before disconnection.
  • The thief instructs the customer to purchase a pre-paid debit or credit card – widely available at retail stores – then call him or her back to supposedly make a payment to Duke Energy.
  • Duke Energy, or any legitimate business, will never ask or require a customer to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
  • Legitimate companies allow customers to make payments online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail or in person.
  • The scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number, which grants instant access to the card’s funds.

If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, hang up and call the local police, then Duke Energy or your corresponding utility company at the phone number listed on your bill. Never dial the phone number the scammers provide.

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