National AP News | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Utility Payment Scheme

By: Progress Energy; Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Progress Energy; Lanetra Bennett Email

Crawfordville, FL - Progress Energy Florida says its gotten customer reports about a scheme.

Crawfordville Resident Chris Gestl says, "That really burns me up from the inside how people could just stand there and sit there behind a desk and call people around and try to take their money."

Progess Energy says under the scheme, someone calls a customer and tells them that their electric service will be immediately disconnected, and that they should make a payment by buying a "money pack" card.

A "money pack" card is a temporary pre-paid credit card bought at a local convenience store.

Once the customer has bought the card. They are supposed to call the fraudulent party back and give them their receipt number and PIN. That's when all of the money on the card can be transferred to the fraudulent person."

Gestl says, "That doesn't even sound right for one. I would kind of be skeptical."

Progress Energy says the scheme targets Spanish-speaking customers.

Crawfordville Resident Jose Carranta says, "We come in and work for other people and send a little bit of money back to Mexico and keep a little bit for here and spend it here on groceries or paying bills or stuff like that. People doing that, taking everbody's money from them, it's going to hurt them."

Progress Energy says it does not contact customers to get personal information.

Anyone in doubt about the identity of someone claiming to be a Progress Energy employee should call 1-800-452-2777.


Progress Energy Release

St. Petersburg, FL - Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, is urging customers to be on alert for a new utility bill payment scam affecting customers across the country.

Under the scam, customers are receiving a call informing them their electric service is scheduled for immediate disconnection and they should make a payment by purchasing a "money pack" card at a local drug or convenience store. Progress Energy has received reports of customers who have been contacted about this scam in its Florida service territory, targeting Spanish-speaking customers.

The "money pack" card is a temporary pre-pay credit card that requires a registration process.
After the customer purchases the card, he or she is instructed to call the fraudulent party back to make a payment. The customer is instructed to provide a receipt number and PIN number. Once that information is obtained, the money on the card is then transferred to the fraudulent party.

Progress Energy does not contact customers to obtain personally identifiable information. In addition, the company encourages anyone who receives a call indicating their electric service is scheduled for immediate disconnect, to contact law enforcement and report the attempted fraud.

Any homeowner in doubt about the identity of someone claiming to be a Progress Energy employee should call Progress Energy's customer service center (1-800-452-2777 in the Carolinas/ 1-800-700-8744 in Florida) to confirm the employee's identity. Customers who are contacted by phone, email, through social media or through other channels, can verify an individual’s affiliation with Progress Energy by calling the same number.

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Progress Energy Florida
Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. More information is available at www.progress-energy.com.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.


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