Scammers Have a Faster Way to Get Your Cash - WSPA.com

Scammers Have a Faster Way to Get Your Cash

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It's the latest trend in phone scams -- and it's hitting our area. It's the latest trend in phone scams -- and it's hitting our area.
GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. -

It's the latest trend in phone scams -- and it's hitting our area.

Scammers have figured out a faster way to get access to your hard-earned cash.

7 On Your Side first told you about a Duke Energy payment scam on Tuesday, where a scam caller threatens to cut off your electricity if you don’t pay up in the next hour.

It's the way the schemer wants you to pay them that's part of a new trend.

At first, it might seem counterintuitive.

A phone scammer tells you to hang up, go buy a prepaid debit card, and call them back with the card info.

Wouldn't it be faster to just ask for your credit card info then and there?

Faster, yes, but riskier too.

Scammers are catching on that credit and debit card transactions come with a lot of protections, allowing the consumer to cancel the card or the payment once they realized it's a fraud.

Not so with a prepaid debit card.

“The prepaid debit card allows the scam artist immediate access to those funds. It's not something that can be canceled easily or quickly like a credit card or debit card transaction could be," said South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs administrator Carri Grube Lybarker.

About a quarter of the scam reports the S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs gets a month involve requests for a prepaid debit card.

Duke Energy said it will never ask you to pay with a prepaid debit card. If you're behind on your bills, the company will notify you for weeks before they disconnect you -- never just an hour beforehand.

If you're not sure whether the person on the other end of the phone is a scammer, Grube said you should hang up, then contact the company the caller says they're with at a number you know actually belongs to them.

An important reminder for Duke Energy customers: If you do get one of these scam calls,

hang up, call the police and then call Duke Energy at 800-777-9898.

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