FRAUD/SCAM ALERT!!

Monday, April 27, 2015 @ 11:54 AM

The HIGH SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT responded to the report of a FRAUD/SCAM to a local business. Investigation revealed that a male caller had contacted a High Springs business alleging they had not paid their DUKE ENERGY bill for two months.

The caller demanded that the business pay their bill via a pre-paid debit card. The caller hung up when the manager advised him that they would have to verify his claim through their Accounting Department.

The caller left the names, Derick Bailey ID # 01-3259; and Richard (last name not provided) at extension 1101; and provided a call back number of (800) 377-4074. HSPD called the 800 number back and received a message indicating, “You have reached CENTURY ELECTRIC and all of the agents are currently assisting other customers.”

An unknown male eventually picked up the line and advised that there were NO employees by the names of Derick Bailey or Richard. When asked where CENTURY ELECTRIC is located, the caller disconnected the line. No contact on call backs.

PLEASE DO NOT BECOME A VICTIM OF THIS FRAUD/SCAM!!

CONTACT HSPD IF YOU RECIEVE ANY OF THESE CALLS.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 @ 2:03 PM

An identical FRAUD/SCAM has been reported by the Dunnellon Florida Police Department via their Facebook page.

WARNING!! LOCAL SCAM CIRCULATING IN DUNNELLON

Local businesses in the Dunnellon area have been receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be with Duke Energy. The business is being informed that they must make an immediately payment or their power will be shut off within 5 minutes.

One of the phone numbers the call is coming from is 800-377-4074 and even though the recording states they are Duke Energy it is NOT real! Duke is telling customers this is a scam and to disregard and to also inform your local law enforcement.

Please let us know if you receive any of these calls.

Posted on the Duke Energy website

Fraud Alert! Beware of recent fraudulent activity targeted at Duke Energy customers

Recent scams in Duke Energy’s service territories have left some customers out of money. These customers were scammed by individuals or companies claiming to represent Duke Energy.

Duke Energy reminds you to protect yourself by contacting us and local law enforcement if you suspect or experience fraudulent activity.

Based on current events, Duke Energy has formed this list of fraud prevention tips to protect customers:

  • Occasionally, Duke Energy MAY call you to discuss your account. If we do, we will provide you with information that only you and Duke Energy would know in order to validate that our call is legitimate. If, after receiving the information, you are uncomfortable providing personal information by phone, or if you believe the call is a scam, hang up and call the company directly at 1-800-544-6900.
  • Do not accept offers from anyone, including those claiming to be Duke Energy employees, to pay your bill or provide any other service for a fee.
  • Duke Energy only charges convenience fees for payments using its automated phone system, one-time payments made through its website and at select authorized pay agents. The company does not charge extra fees for paying bills by mail or through customers’ online banking services.
  • Duke Energy customers who have delinquent accounts receive multiple notifications from the company over the course of several weeks prior to electric service disconnection – never just a single notification one hour before disconnection.
  • Duke Energy never asks or requires customers who have delinquent accounts to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid electric service disconnection. Customers can make payments online, by phone, by automatic bank draft, by mail or in person.
  • If you or someone you know has a question about whether someone is a legitimate representative of Duke Energy, call the company at 1-800-544-6900. Call police immediately if you believe the person is an imposter.
  • Guard against fraud – never share your personal information, including birthday, Social Security number or banking account information.

Examples of Potential Scams

Misleading Phone Calls

Some customers report receiving phone calls from individuals identifying themselves as Duke Energy employees or a third-party representative of Duke Energy. In some cases, the customer’s caller identification will display Duke Energy’s name or phone number.

The caller attempts to obtain customer account or personal information. Other callers may threaten immediate service disconnection – usually within an hour – if immediate payment is not made with a prepaid debit card.

Occasionally, Duke Energy MAY call you to discuss your account. If we do, we will provide you with information that only you and Duke Energy would know in order to validate that our call is legitimate. If, after receiving the information, you are uncomfortable providing personal information by phone, or if you believe the call is a scam, hang up and call the company directly at 1-800-544-6900.

Duke Energy customers who have delinquent accounts receive multiple notifications from the company over the course of several weeks prior to electric service disconnection – never just a single notification one hour before disconnection. Customers can also make payments online, by phone, by automatic bank draft, my mail or in person.

Third-Party Payment

Scam artists claiming to be Duke Energy employees are telling customers they have the ability to wipe out entire account balances – for a cash fee. Please know that no one from Duke Energy will ever offer to pay a customer’s bill in exchange for a fee. Duke Energy only charges convenience fees for payments using its automated phone system and one-time payments made through its website. The company does not charge customers extra fees for paying their bills by mail, at authorized pay agent locations or through customers’ online banking services.

If you have a question about whether someone is a legitimate representative of Duke Energy, contact the company directly at 1-800-544-6900 to verify the person’s identity. Call police immediately if you believe the person is an imposter.

Posted on the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office website

JURY DUTY SCAMS IN ALACHUA COUNTY

Some Alachua County residents are receiving phone calls from a person identifying himself as “Capt. Holloway of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.”  The incoming calls show up with a 352 area code prefix making them appear to be local.  The caller then advises them that they missed jury duty and instructs them there is an instant fine associated with this and if it is not paid their drivers license will be “flagged.”  They are provided a phone number and instructed to secure a pre-paid credit card or money order in the amount of the “fine.”  They are also provided with a number to call back once they have secured payment.

Typically when the caller calls the number back that has been provided they get an answering machine that greets them with, “Alachua County Sheriff’s Office we are unable to take the call right now, please leave a message.  The scammer then calls the victim back relatively quickly.

  • If you receive one of these calls hang up immediately and notify law enforcement.
  • Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.
  • The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, nor the Alachua County court system solicit fine moneys over the phone.
  • You can reach the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office at 352-367-4000 or the Alachua County Clerk of the Courts at 352-374-3618 to verify information.
  • Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date on the latest scams occurring in Alachua County.

We also continue to receive calls from citizens who have been targeted by suspects representing themselves as agents from local businesses such as Gainesville Regional Utilities, Clay Electric, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and most recently Walmart in an effort to secure payment with a prepaid Green Dot Visa gift card. In a recent case involving the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, a citizen was notified that they had an active Alachua County warrant and needed to send a prepaid Green Dot Visa gift card in the amount of $1000.00 to resolve the warrant. In another case, the suspect represented themselves as Walmart and told the citizen that there was a problem with their layaway and that in order to resolve that balance they needed to send a prepaid Green Dot Visa gift card. Please do not send anyone a prepaid Green Dot Visa gift card without first verifying that the problem is legitimate first.

It is important that all residents be aware of these scams in order to keep from becoming a victim. Please call the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office at 352-955-1818 if you receive a call that involves a scam.

Posted on GRU website on 8/7/2014

GRU Warns Business Customers of Scam

GRU is cautioning citizens to beware of a scam targeting non-residential customers. Some business customers have received phone calls from someone claiming to be a GRU representative, saying that the customer must make an immediate payment using a cash-reload card to avoid having their utility service disconnected.

A scammer called one restaurant during the lunch rush and claimed to be a GRU representative extending a courtesy call prior to disconnecting the business’s electric service in 45 minutes. The phone number showed up in the caller ID as a GRU number.

GRU does not contact business or residential customers by phone to demand payment or personal information. If you receive this type of call, please do not comply with the request. If you are unsure about the authenticity of communications appearing to be from GRU, please contact Customer Service at 352-334-3434. If the correspondence is deemed suspicious, you should then report it to the Gainesville Police Department at 352-955-1818 or to www.stopfraud.gov.

Posted on GRU website on 1/17/2014

GRU Warns Customers of New Email Scam

GRU is cautioning customers to beware of an email scam targeting utility customers.

The emails appear to come from legitimate utility companies such as FPL, Pacific Gas & Electric and possibly GRU. They often contain the subject line “Energy Statement” or something similar and are designed to resemble a monthly bill.

These messages are phony and may contain malicious malware. Customers who receive an email that looks different from their normal bill or seems suspicious in any way should delete it immediately. They should not open it, click any links contained within the message or provide any personal information.

GRU will never call or email customers to demand payment. Customers who are unsure about the authenticity of correspondence appearing to be from GRU can contact GRU’s Customer Service Department at 352-334-3434 or visit the GRU website to verify their account status. If the correspondence is deemed fraudulent, customers should then report it to the Gainesville Police Department at 352-955-1818 or to the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

Example of Fraudulent Email

Email messages similar to this one should be deleted immediately.

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Identity Theft Protection Posted on GRU website  

GRU is strengthening efforts to protect customers from theft and fraud

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is the fastest growing and most financially devastating crime in the U.S. It occurs when someone uses your personal information (name, social security number, driver’s license number, etc.) without your permission.

Thieves can use this information to open a new account, add to an existing account or conduct many other fraudulent transactions. Identity theft can damage your credit rating and cause substantial harm to you and GRU.

What is GRU doing to protect you?

GRU takes several measures to protect customers from theft and fraud, including:

  • Performing a credit check for all new accounts to validate information such as date of birth, name and social security number and to see if customers have placed a fraud alert on their credit reports,
  • Developing an alert system for “red flag” activities that indicate the possible risk of identity theft,
  • Providing customers who are at risk for identity theft with the option to place a hold on their account and require additional verification when making changes to their account.

GRU is committed to doing everything possible to protect customers from identity theft and fraud and maintaining compliance with federal requirements, such as the Fair and Accurate Transactions Act of 2003. Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft website for more information.