Indiana electric customers fall victim to scam

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 23, 2015) -- Hoosier electricity customers are being targeted in a scam that some have fallen victim to. The scammers are finding easier ways of getting your money and have become more convincing. The scam artists in this situation are pretending to be Duke Energy representatives.

"The caller falsely says that we will cut off their electric service usually within an hour if they don't make an immediate payment," said Lew Middleton, spokesman for Duke Energy.

During the phone call, you're told you can relieve the debt the by filling a prepaid Green Dot card and reading the number over the phone.

"The caller then says, 'Okay, you've paid your Duke Energy bill', when in fact they have not paid any money to Duke Energy, they've simply been scammed out of the money that they put on the Green Dot card," Middleton added.

An unknown number of small independent business owners in Kokomo, Lafayette, Columbus and Terre Haute are the target of these overseas scam artists. They're calling from a number that puts Duke Energy's name on your caller ID, which means it's not just their convincing phone demeanor being used.

"They've gotten so crafty as creating letterhead that appears to be authentic. You get a mailer from somebody and then you get a subsequent call," said Officer Christopher Wilburn with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD).

If you're unsure about a bill, ask questions.

"Ask for their name, ask for their identification number or where they're calling from, ask who you're speaking to. Ask them how they got your information," Wilburn added.

If you think you have become a victim, or you've gotten at least a phone call from a scam artist, call police immediately.

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