Duke Energy wants its Indiana customers to be on the alert for a new bill payment scam.
Under the scam, a customer receives an unsolicited phone call from someone who falsely claims to be a Duke Energy representative.
The caller falsely warns that Duke Energy will disconnect the customer's electric service if the customer fails to make an immediate payment - usually within one hour.
The caller instructs the customer to purchase a prepaid debit card - widely available at retail stores - then tells the customer to call back to supposedly make a payment to Duke Energy.
The caller asks the customer for the prepaid debit card's receipt number and PIN number, giving the caller instant access to the card's funds and the ability to immediately drain its balance.
In reality, 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.
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.
The company urges customers who suspect or experience fraud to hang up and call local police, then call Duke Energy in Indiana at 1-800-521-2232.
Duke Energy Indiana's operations provide approximately 6,900 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 790,000 customers, making it the state's largest electric supplier.