Fraud Alert! Focus on Fraud – Protect Yourself from Scams
Modern scam artists use increasingly sophisticated and intimidating tactics. The only way to protect yourself is to be vigilant, stay informed and guard your personal information. Remember, you do not have to sign anything or give personal information to anyone calling you on the phone, sending you an email or showing up at your door. If you feel something’s not quite right about the situation, contact us immediately at 800.521.2232. Contact the police immediately and report the call if you feel it was an impostor.
Protect yourself against this growing utility bill phone scam
We have learned Duke Energy customers in five states have been targeted by scam artists claiming to represent the company. Phone, doorstep and email scammers claiming to be a utility company are nothing new – it happens to all utility companies throughout the U.S. and Canada. However, complaints about this particular scam have DOUBLED in 2015.
Scammers are calling residents and impersonating utility company staff, claiming to be collecting on late bills. They may even falsify their caller ID information to make it appear as though the call is coming from Duke Energy. The most popular targets recently have been small businesses, Spanish-speaking customers and Spanish-speaking business owners.
Because we do occasionally contact our customers by phone, it can be difficult to tell a scammer from a real Duke Energy employee. Here are some tips:
- If a caller specifically asks you to pay by prepaid debit card, this is a red flag. Prepaid debit cards are like cash and the transactions cannot be reversed.
- If you feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call us at the number on your utility bill. This will ensure you are speaking to a real Duke Energy representative.
How can I know if it’s really Duke Energy contacting me?
At Duke Energy, we will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment about money owed without first sending you a notification by mail
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
If you have any doubts, HANG UP and call us directly at 800.521.2232.
If you or someone you know has a question about whether someone is a legitimate representative of Duke Energy, call the company at 800.521.2232. Call the police immediately if you believe the person is an impostor.
What are other scams targeting Duke Energy customers?
Email Phishing Scam
Duke Energy customers have reported receiving statements via email that claim their “energy bill” is due or past due.
These emails, not connected to Duke Energy’s Paperless Billing program, instruct customers to click on a link to pay their bill. Clicking on the link could result in downloading a virus onto the recipient’s computer or theft of personal information.
Customers should avoid clicking links or downloading attachments from businesses or individuals they do not know, and they should contact Duke Energy directly to discuss their account.
Misleading Phone Calls
Some customers report receiving phone calls from individuals identifying themselves as a Duke Energy employee or a third-party representative of Duke Energy. In some cases, the customer's caller identification will display Duke Energy's name or phone number.
The caller attempts to obtain customer account or personal information. Other callers may threaten immediate service disconnection – usually within an hour – if immediate payment is not made with a prepaid debit card.
Occasionally, Duke Energy MAY call you to discuss your account. If we do, we will provide you with information that only you and Duke Energy would know in order to validate that our call is legitimate. If, after receiving the information, you are uncomfortable providing personal information by phone, or if you believe the call is a scam, hang up and call the company directly at 800.521.2232.
Duke Energy customers who have delinquent accounts receive multiple notifications from the company over the course of several weeks prior to electric service disconnection – never just a single notification one hour before disconnection. Customers can also make payments online, by phone, by automatic bank draft, by mail or in person.
Scam artists claiming to be Duke Energy employees are telling customers they have the ability to wipe out entire account balances – for a cash fee. Please know that no one from Duke Energy will ever offer to pay your bill in exchange for a fee. Visit this page to see the valid ways to pay your bill.
If you have a question about whether someone is a legitimate representative of Duke Energy, contact the company directly at 800.521.2232 to verify the person's identity. Call the police immediately if you believe the person is an imposter.
What can I do to protect myself against fraud?
- Never share your personal information, including birthday, Social Security number or banking account information.
- Never wire money to someone you don’t know – regardless of the situation. Once you wire money, you cannot get it back.
- Do not accept offers from anyone, including those claiming to be Duke Energy employees, to pay your bill or provide any other service for a fee.
- Don’t assume the name and number on your caller ID are legitimate. Caller IDs can be spoofed.
- Do not click links or call numbers that appear in unexpected emails or texts – especially those asking for your account information. If you click on a link, your computer could become infected with malware, including viruses that can steal your information and ruin your computer.
- Occasionally, Duke Energy MAY call you to discuss your account. If we do, we will provide you with information that only you and Duke Energy would know in order to validate that our call is legitimate. If, after receiving the information, you are uncomfortable providing personal information by phone, or if you believe the call is a scam, hang up and call the company directly at 800.521.2232.
- Duke Energy customers who have delinquent accounts receive multiple notifications from the company over the course of several weeks prior to electric service disconnection – never just a single notification one hour before disconnection.
- Duke Energy never asks or requires customers who have delinquent accounts to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid electric service disconnection. Customers can make payments online, by phone, by automatic bank draft, by mail or in person.
- If you’re concerned there may really be a problem with your power, contact Duke Energy by calling the number listed on your monthly bill.
If I’ve been scammed, what should I do?
Should I report a scam attempt?
Yes, absolutely. Report it to us by calling 800.521.2232. Then report it to your local law enforcement.
What is Duke Energy doing to put a stop to this scam?
Duke Energy remains committed to working with our law enforcement and industry partners to combat this crime and to keep our customers informed. To that end, we cooperate fully with local, federal and international law enforcement as well as attorneys general in several states, so they may locate and stop telemarketing fraud rings. Fraudulent calls like these can be very difficult to stop since technology makes it possible for criminals to make the calls from anywhere in the world. Telemarketing fraud rings frequently use Voice Over Internet Protocol (V.o.I.P) to make their calls harder to trace, and they use technology to make it appear that their calls come from another telephone number, called “spoofing".