Utility companies joining together to prevent scams

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PLAINFIELD, Ind. – Duke Energy and other utility companies in Indiana have joined a national coalition to prevent utility scams.

The Utilities United Against Scams group formed in 2016 and as part of National Utility Scam Awareness Day. On November 15, the group is launching an awareness campaign to draw attention to the issue.

“We don’t want any of our customers to lose a dime on something like this,” Duke Energy Spokeswoman Angeline Protogere said. “Through raising awareness (Utilities United Against Scams) have been able to reduce the number of successful scams by 50 percent.”

Protogere said since 2015, Duke Energy customers in the six states the company serves have lost more than $1 million.

She added recently, scammers have been targeting small and medium sized businesses during the busy times like the lunch hour.

“It’s a necessity to have electricity, to continue to operate your restaurant, so often these business are concerned their electricity is going to be turned off so they may fall for the scam,” Protogere said. “We’ve also seen them targeting business that may be minority owned, Hispanic owned where there may be language barriers.”

Duke wants customers to know the company or any other utility would never ask for money over the phone. Also, if you’re energy is going to be disconnected, you’d receive written notice in the mail, not a phone call.

Protogere added if you believe you are a target of a utility scam, you should hang up and dial the number on your energy bill.