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Scammers target utility customers
[February 11, 2013]

Scammers target utility customers

GREENSBORO, Feb 11, 2013 (News & Record - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Scammers are targeting utility customers in North Carolina by threatening to turn off their electricity unless they make immediate payments with a prepaid debit card.

The Better Business Bureau issued a warning today about the scam.

"Folks are receiving these solicitations all across North Carolina. It seems pretty widespread," said Kevin Hinterberger, president and CEO of the Central North Carolina BBB. "We were speaking to another BBB, they told us about it, and we had had a few phone calls from consumers here as well." Just how many people have been targeted is unknown. In a press release, Duke Energy payments manager Tom Cunningham said the scammers have called about 80 of the power company's customers since November.

According to the BBB, the scammers tell utility customers that their electricity will be turned off in a couple of hours unless they make a payment with a prepaid debit card.

Cunningham said that Duke never calls customers insisting they use a prepaid debit card.

The BBB also warns to never give out personal information to anyone who calls or emails.

Those who have been targeted can call the Central North Carolina BBB at 852-4240, Duke Energy at (800) 777-9898 or Progress Energy at (800) 452-2777.

Contact Robert C. Lopez at 691-5091 and follow @rclopez79 on Twitter.

___ (c)2013 the News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.) Visit the News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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