CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Duke Energy customers have reported a 32% increase in attempted scams in 2020.
As everyone grapples with the daily struggles and changes because of COVID-19 scammers are trying hard to make a bad year even worse.
“At the height of the pandemic, scammers preyed on Duke Energy customers with an alarming frequency,” said Jared Lawrence, Duke Energy’s vice president of revenue services and metering. “The good news? Most people didn’t fall for it.”
Through a partnership, the BBB of Cincinnati and Duke Energy teamed up to make Nov. 18 Utility Scam Awareness Day.
Do you think you know how to spot a scam? Find out by taking the quiz below.
The most common type of scam is done over the phone, Duke Energy says.
The common tactics scammers use over the phone include:
- A call with prerecorded voice, often referred to as a robocall, with a caller ID display showing the name of the customer’s utility.
- A mimicked interactive voice menu that customers typically hear when they call their utility.
- Threats to disconnect the power or natural gas service to a customer’s home or business within an hour.
- Immediate payment demands by prepaid debit card, gift card, cryptocurrency, or mobile apps like Cash App, Venmo and Zelle.
- A promise of a refund check if the customer makes a payment and the pending disconnect was an error. Oftentimes, this promise of a refund check requires customers to share or confirm personal information like birthdays, Social Security numbers, and more.
So, what should you do if you suspect you are being scammed or are being threatened?
- First thing is to hang up the phone.
- Never give the caller any personal information. Scammers are crafty and can easily trick you into giving them information.
- Call Duke Energy by using the phone number on the bill or on the company’s website, followed by a call to the police. Duke Energy customers in Ohio and Kentucky can call 800-544-6900.
- Never buy a prepaid debit card or gift card to avoid service disconnection or shutoff. Do not pay over the phone if immediate payment is demanded by a prepaid card to avoid disconnection. Utility companies do not specify how customers should make a payment, and they always offer a variety of ways to pay, including online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail or in person.
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