Public Warned Of Utility Bill Payment Scam
Progress Energy is urging customers be on alert for a new utility bill payment scam affecting customers across the country. Scammers claim that President Obama will pay customers’ utility bills through a new federal program. Progress Energy has received reports of customers who have been contacted about this scam in its Carolinas and Florida service territories. According to the Better Business Bureau, customers have been contacted in person and through fliers, social media and text messages with claims that President Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills. To receive the money, scammers claim they need the customers’ Social Security and bank routing numbers. In return, customers are given a false bank routing number that will supposedly pay their utility bills. In reality, there is no money, and customers believe they have paid their bills when in fact they have not. Progress Energy does not contact customers to obtain
personally identifiable information. In addition, the company 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 identification badges with photographs. But because identification badges, vehicle signs and clothing can be fabricated to look authentic, none of these is sufficient to verify a person’s identity.
Other than in emergencies or safety-related issues, there are almost no instances when a representative of Progress Energy would come to a customer’s home unannounced and ask to enter to perform work or provide a service. Any homeowner in doubt about the identity of someone claiming to be a Progress Energy employee should keep the door closed and locked and 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 and need for entry. 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. More information about this scam is available on the Better Business Bureau’s website, at http://www.bbb.org/ us/article/president-obama-is-not-offering-to-pay-your-utility-bills-34928.