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TECO, Duke Energy see spike in scammers targeting Tampa Bay area customers

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 17:37:45-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Electric companies TECO and Duke Energy are seeing a spike in scammers impersonating power bill collectors.

TECO told ABC Action News it has received reports of the scam from at least 50 customers a day.

Duke Energy also said it has seen an uptick on impostors who are calling customers to demand money and threatening to disconnect the power unless they pay up.

Here’s how it works: The impostors spoof the power company’s phone number on a customer’s caller ID, so it looks like TECO or Duke Energy is calling. The scammers then threaten to shut off the power unless a customer makes a payment with a prepaid debit card.

The power companies also report these impostors are fishing for personal information, asking customers to verify their accounts.

Duke Energy and TECO both say they will never call, email or show up at a customer’s door to ask for personal information.

Both power companies have suspended disconnections for nonpayment until at least the end of July.