Duke Energy: Watch out for con artists pretending to be with power company

CHARLOTTE — Duke Energy said con artists have already targeted about 11,000 customers so far this year -- about 4,000 since July 1 alone.

Duke told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke the customers who have reported being scammed over the last two months handed over a combined $97,000.

However, there is good news. Duke said the number of reports is down from last year. The company said it had more than 19,000 reports from January to mid-August last year. The number over the same time period this year has been 10,500.

Tamilia Sherrill said a scammer pretending to be with Duke called her husband and said they owed $400.

“They then told him, ‘Well, if you don’t pay the $400, your power is going to be cut off in 30 minutes,’” she said.

Sherrill worries that approach may scare some people.

“Because they’re thinking, ‘I need to do it right now,’” she said.

[Previous coverage on scammers pretending to work for Duke Energy]

Sherrill told Stoogenke she didn’t believe the caller because she and her husband always pay their power bill and they don’t use Duke Energy. They are Union Power customers.

Sherrill said the scammer made up a story that the $400 was for new meters, but she said her house is almost new, another red flag.

“I hate to see people lose their money,” she said. “This needs to be known because I hate for people to lose their money on somebody going around scamming other people.”

Remember:

  • Your utility won’t call, threatening to shut off your power right away.
  • It won’t ask you to pay using a prepaid debit card or by wiring money.
  • If you really think you owe money, hang up and call the utility yourself. If you do call, don’t trust the number on your Caller ID. Call the number on your bill.

(Watch the video below: Action 9 warns job scams on the rise during pandemic)