Warning: Phone scammers posing as utility workers, seeking credit card info

THIS INFORMATION FROM A NEWS RELEASE SENT TO THE WWAY NEWSCHANNEL 3 NEWSROOM

RALEIGH, NC (NEWS RELEASE) -- Progress Energy warns customers to beware of a telephone-based scam that has increased in frequency this week.

More than a dozen Progress Energy customers have reported since Sept. 28 that they have received telephone calls from one or more people claiming to represent Progress Energy or other electric utilities. The caller, sometimes identified as "Dan," claims the customer's account is about to be disconnected for non-payment, and requests credit card information from the customer to avoid the disconnection. In at least one case, credit card information was supplied, and the information was later used illegally.

Except in rare instances, Progress Energy representatives do not call customers, asking for credit card information.

Other scams in recent years have involved people claiming to be Progress Energy employees or representatives, seeking entry into a customer's home. Other than in emergencies or safety-related issues, there are practically no instances when a representative of Progress Energy would show up at a customer's home unannounced and ask to enter to perform work.

Progress Energy encourages customers and others not to open their door for utility workers unless they can confirm the person's identity. Progress Energy employees carry company badges with photographs. But since ID badges, vehicle signs and clothing can be fabricated to look authentic, none of these is sufficient to assure a person's identity.

If a customer has any doubt about the identity of anyone claiming to be a Progress Energy employee (in person, on the phone or via e-mail or other electronic media), that person should call the Progress Energy customer service center at 1-800-452-2777 to verify the employee's identity.

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