While most are wearing masks in hopes of protecting themselves from the Coronavirus, others are eager to take advantage of the situation and abuse consumers. This week, Duke Energy announced that a record number of scam attempts were made on their customers during the month of June. Duke Energy officials say scammers have tried to use the pandemic to abuse Americans.
More than 4,000 scams were reported in June. There are various scams being carried out with some of the most common asking victims to confirm personal data to send refund checks and asking for a payment of an unpaid bill with a prepaid debit card. Duke Energy wants to protect its customers to the fullest.
If you’re not sure whether you’re dealing with a fraudulent caller, it is important to hang up and call Duke directly.
Duke Energy Scams To Avoid
Scammers have developed a new tactic that Americans need to know about. Scammers are now offering to mail customers refund checks for overpayments on their accounts. Before the customer can receive the payment, they’ll need to confirm their birthday, social security number, and other information.
Duke Energy and its subsidiary Piedmont Natural Gas generally apply refunds to customers’ accounts in the form of credit. It will never contact customers asking them to verify personal information by phone, email, or in person.
If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from Duke Energy and they want your information, you’re dealing with a fraudster.
Delinquent Utility Bill Scam
Other scammers are claiming that customers are behind on their bills. The scammer will tell the customer that a service disconnection is pending. Caller ID information is rigged to make it appear that the phone call is coming from the utility provider. The scammer will demand an immediate payment in the form of a prepaid debit card.
It should be noted that Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas have temporarily suspended disconnections for nonpayment.
Common Duke Energy Scams
- Scammer uses a pre-recorded voice with a caller ID showing the name of the utility company
- Victims may hear an Interactive Voice Response menu that mimics the system used by utility companies
- The scammer may threaten to disconnect energy or natural gas within an hour
- Demands will be made for immediate payment by prepaid debit card
- Scammers may offer refund checks pretending the customer overpaid
Anyone who suspects they’re dealing with a scammer should hang up immediately. Contact your utility provider directly. Americans should never buy a prepaid debit card or gift card in hopes of paying for their utility bill and preventing their service from being shut off.