Top 5 things to remember:
- If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- When it comes to a "now or never" opportunity, choose "never."
- Keep account numbers, codes and passwords private.
- Shred bills, junk mail, and receipts when discarding them.
- Don't be afraid to report your experiences. If you feel uncomfortable, tell someone.
*Fraud takes a bite out of a Winston-Salem Business*
Just as fashion styles cycle around…so do scams. Winston-Salem Detective Scott Sluder calls the perpetrators of scams very skilled business people. One getting a lot of attention is the Utility Scam.
Here’s how it works:
- A person claiming to work for Duke Energy will come to or call your business/home.
- They claim you have an outstanding utility bill.
- They will insist you pay within 30-minutes to avoid losing power.
- They direct you to purchase prepaid credit cards or debit cards.
- They give you a phone number so as to give them the authorization codes.
Mike Coe owns Pepper Mill Café on 4th Street in downtown Winston-Salem. He says in mid-April, a person used this scam to steal about $1,420 from his coffee shop.
Duke Energy is fighting this fraud at www.duke-energy.com/stopfraud.
According to Duke Energy:
- It will never ask customer to pay bill with a prepaid debit/credit card.
- It will issue several notifications regarding overdue bill prior to disconnecting service. At least one will be written.
- It will work with customer to make payment arrangements.
- It will not send a person to your home or business to collect payments.
- It will not make aggressive phone calls regarding unpaid balances.
To combat online scams:
- Keep updated anti-virus software on all computers
- Only use secured, private Wi-Fi for all banking/financial transactions
Winston-Salem Detective Scott Sluder recommends before giving money to anyone, verify they are legit. “Get their first and last name, an ID number and call the company they claim to represent,” explains Detective Sluder. “Also, if they insist you must act immediately and you must keep the transaction secret, then be real suspicious. It’s probably a scam.”
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