Greenwood Co. Sheriff’s Office, Duke Energy warn of utility scams

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GREENWOOD, S.C. (WSPA) — The Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday joined forces with Duke Energy to raise awareness of utility scams.

According to Duke Energy, 121 South Carolinians were scammed out of nearly $95,000 in the first 10 months of 2020. Across Duke’s entire coverage area, customers lost around $400,000 to utility scammers.

The energy company and the sheriff’s office caution customers of tell-tale signs that a scam may be afoot:

  • The person on the other end of the phone threatens to disconnect services immediately if not paid.
  • The person on the other end of the phone requests immediate payment.
  • The person on the other end of the phone requests payment through gift cards or smartphone payment apps.
  • The person on the other end of the phone promises a refund check for overpayments but first requests private information.

Sergeant Jeff Graham from the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office said scammers tend to target vulnerable individuals, particularly the elderly. He said that if the legitimacy of the caller is in question, individuals should call friends or family to explain the situation. People can even call the sheriff’s office with questions.

“We don’t mind you asking questions,” Graham said. “We’d rather you call and ask us than you being taken advantage of and us having to do an incident report to try to get your money back.”

If you feel threatened by a potential scammer, call 911.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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