UPSTATE, S.C. (WSPA) – An Upstate resident is speaking out after she almost fell victim to a scammer that called her phone and pretended to work for Duke Energy.
Scammers who indulge in the Duke Energy scheme have a cut-and-dry routine. They try to get as much money out of customers as possible by threatening to disconnect their power for an overdue bill if they don’t pay a certain amount of money.
Diane Massingill, a resident in Woodruff, told me she received a call on Monday afternoon from a scammer using that same old tactic. But she refused to send them money because she paid her bill this month.
Massingill said the scammer then transferred her to another person who demanded she pay $495 dollars over the phone to install a Smart Meter in her home. She said she’s been a customer with Duke Energy for 32 years and she knew something wasn’t right.
“When he started to tell me it was $495 dollars I knew that was a scam. But he really had me going for about five to six minutes. I really thought that it could’ve possibly been something very legitimate,” Massingill said.
Officials at Duke Energy said these scammers tactics are always changing, but here’s a few key signs to look out for when on the phone:
- Threat to disconnect: Scammers may aggressively tell a customer their utility bill is past due, and service will be disconnected—usually within an hour—if a payment is not made.
- Request for immediate payment: Scammers might instruct a customer to purchase a prepaid card, cryptocurrency, or to send funds via a mobile app to make a bill payment.
- Request for prepaid card or payment through certain mobile apps: Duke Energy currently does not accept payments through the Cash App, Venmo or Zelle apps. However, customers can make payments on Duke Energy’s mobile app available in the Apple App Store for iOS and the Google Play Store for Android.
- Personal information: Duke Energy will not contact customers to verify personal information by phone, email or in person in order to mail a check.
If you receive a phone call from anyone that you suspect to be a scammer, hang up immediately and call Duke Energy at 800-777-9898.
If you ever feel that you are in physical danger, dial 9-1-1.