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Duke Energy, Better Business Bureau warning about scams, offering tips to stay safe

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Posted at 2:10 PM, Nov 15, 2023

CINCINNATI — Duke Energy and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) have joined forces to warn residents about the tricks scammers use to steal money.

The two held a press conference Wednesday as part of National Utility Scam Awareness Week. Gas and electric providers, as well as other utility companies in the U.S., are also working together throughout the week as part of Utilities United Against Scams, a week-long campaign.

Duke said scammers pose a threat to customers via email, in-person and phone tactics.

According to Duke and the BBB, common scam tactics include:

  • Scammers aggressively telling customers their utility bill is past due, and their service will be disconnected (usually within 30 days) if a payment is not made
  • Customers are instructed to sent payment through a mobile app, such as Cash App, Venmo or Zelle
  • Scammers promise to mail refund checks for overpayments if the customer confirms personal data, such as birthdays and Social Security numbers

Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky, said more than 77,000 Duke customers have reported scams in 2023. This number is slightly down from 2022.
Despite the risk in scams, Duke and the BBB said there are plenty of ways customers can protect themselves.

In terms of past due payments, Duke said customers will receive multiple advance notices, including mail and their regular monthly bill statement.

Duke does offer a variety of ways to pay a bill, including mail, phone payments, in-person, automatic bank withdrawals and online payment, but the company never uses third-party apps or websites.

The utility company also said it will never ask for personal information, as well as credit or debit card numbers, over the phone or even in-person for payments or refunds.

For those that feel like someone is trying to scam them, Duke and the BBB advise that customers should hang up, delete the email or simply shut their door. After that, contact your utility company immediately at the number found on your most recent monthly bill or on the company's official website — never use a number provided by the potential scammer.

As always, if customers feel as if they're in physical danger, call 911.

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