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Duke Energy warns of phone scam, energy assistance program now open

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Posted at 4:56 PM, Oct 03, 2022

CARMEL — Carmel resident Bob Hall has called Hamilton County home for the last 25 years. On Sunday, he got a call from a number that he didn’t recognize.

"They had my name, my address, the amount I owed and my phone number," Hall told WRTV.

The caller claimed that they were from Duke Energy and said Hall needed to pay his bill immediately or that they were going to shut his energy off.

“I called Duke and got the automated bill and they told me my bill wasn’t due until the 18th of October, so I knew that it was a scam, cause how can I get my power shut off when I'm paid up?” Hall said.

The scammer said Hall owed over $200, which was accurate. Hall tells WRTV he pays all of his bills on time and when he questioned the person on the other end of the line, they hung up.

The most recent numbers from Duke Energy show that scams happen more often than people may realize.

"Customers are becoming more aware of scammers take advantage during times of crisis. We saw an uptick in attempts during the pandemic," Angeline Protogere with Duke Energy said.

In Indiana, more than 2,200 scams were reported to Duke Energy in 2021 and 90 people, or 4.1% of people were deceived by the scammer. Duke says about $38,000 was paid to scammers during that time period.

"If a customer is at risk for disconnection, they are going to get multiple notices from us and again we would never call them and threaten to disconnect them within 30 minutes," Protogere said. "We would never tell a customer to get a prepaid debit card."

MORE: Information on assistance from Duke Energy

Hall has this message to Hoosiers to make sure they don't become the victim of a scam.

"Don’t just automatically give them your credit card number – hang up," Hall said.

You can report fraud and scams directly to Duke Energy online.

On Monday, the Indiana Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) opened applications. Hoosiers can get help paying energy and water bills. For more information and to apply, click here.