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Duke Energy scam artists in area again

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Duke Energy officials want to warn customers that scam artists are in the Wabash Valley area again.

According to a press release issued by the company Tuesday, a very official looking Duke Energy employee attempted to collect money from a Terre Haute resident, but it was a scam.

The alleged employee was wearing a blue/gray jacket with a Duke Energy emblem driving a white pickup truck with black lettering and the company trademark red D. However, the emblem on the jacket and truck were outlined with a red line, which is different from the company's official logo.

The suspect threatened to disconnect the customer's electric service for non-payment. When the customer insisted there must be a mistake, the suspect offered to accept a payment for the bill. The customer declined and the man left without further incident.

"Duke Energy employees always carry proper identification, offer a list of contact numbers and never take payments from customers," Terre Haute/Brazil Area Customer Relations Rick Burger said. "Someone comes to your door claiming to work for Duke Energy, ask for company identification. If there is any doubt, contact the company for further verification."

On August 9, Brazil City Police Department officials investigated a report by an elderly woman approached by a man claiming to be a Duke Energy employee measuring homes eligible for energy assistance program while another man waited in a black vehicle outside her residence.

Under the pretext of measuring the home, the woman let the man, who never presented Duke Energy credentials, inside her home. After the man left, the woman discovered cash missing from her home.

Further details are not being released due to the pending investigation.

At the time Duke Energy Indiana Media Relations Angeline Protogere confirmed several customers throughout the state have been victims to similar cons.

The Duke Energy website offers tips on how to spot an imposter, including when an individual refuses to present identification, to provide a reason for their visit or to wait while verifying their identity with the company they claim to represent.

BCPD Captain Dave Archer, who investigated the local case, urges people to be cautious and contact law enforcement if they believe a worker is an imposter.

Agreeing, Burger said company employees will immediately identify themselves with proper identification and do not show up at a residence without a scheduled appointment.

To contact Duke Energy about a suspicious worker, call (800) 521-2232. The company also provides more public safety tips on their website, www.duke-energy.com.

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