1. Business

Duke Energy is warning Tampa Bay customers about the latest scam

Published Aug. 11, 2016

TAMPA — Duke Energy has issued a warning in the Tampa Bay area because scammers have duplicated the utility's caller ID and interactive phone system to steal from customers.

In June and July, nearly 400 Florida businesses called the utility to report suspicious phone calls. Collectively, they lost more than $40,000.

Duke officials said small businesses are especially prone to the scammers, who threaten to cut power within the hour. The scammers typically tell the customer that their account is past due and to send money through a prepaid debit or credit card to prevent an outage.

The utility said consumers can protect themselves by making sure they call the phone number listed on their regular monthly bill, which would show if their account is delinquent.