Please see the correspondence from Duke Energy:
We expect a WSPA story this week regarding Duke Energy customers being targeted by a new twist on an old trick- the scammer talks about a charge for a changeout of meters and then applies the typical rush for immediate payment.
The most important thing to do is simple: end the phone call. Duke Energy will never tell you that you’ve got 30 minutes to pay or you lose your service – that’s not how we operate. Hang up on the caller. Call us at the 800-number on your bill or on our website. If you take that one critical step, you’ve beaten the scammer.
Education works – when we started aggressive scam awareness education efforts with customers five years ago, about 9% of customers fell for the scam. Now it’s down to 4%. But that’s still too many, and the scammers have stolen thousands – about $350,000 from Duke Energy customers through Oct. 31, 2021. In the first 10 months of 2021, nearly 1,200 Duke Energy customers in South Carolina reported scam attempts, resulting in about $41,000 lost
After Duke Energy temporarily suspended disconnects in response to COVID-19 and offered extended payment plans, scammers adapted. Rather than focus on overdue bills, they tell the homeowner they need to pay a deposit for a new meter, which will later be refunded – again insisting on immediate deposit. Other trends include a focus on mobile banking apps, along with wire transfers and pre-paid cards. That’s a red flag – Duke Energy doesn’t take customer payments from mobile banking apps, and we will never tell you a specific payment method that you must use.
We have a dedicated website for customers to learn more about scams and what they should be on the lookout for: duke-energy.com/StopScams.