Duke Energy representatives warn residents, business owners of fraudulent calls

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TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — A local business owner is warning other businesses and residents about a fraudulent phone call he received.

Brad Cohen, the owner of Arni’s Pizza, said someone claiming to be Duke Energy called him and said he was behind in payments. So-called representatives went on to tell Cohen that his power would be shut off in the matter of hours.

“The calls were very professional, and they create a scare tactic to get our managers or whoever is on the other end of the line to react,” Cohen explained.

Cohen said, luckily, he and his staff didn’t fall for the scheme.

“It’s professional sounding,” Cohen explained. “It’s a 1-800 number they give you to return the call. When you do call that number, it’s a professional recording on the other end of the line saying, ‘Stay on the line. We’ll be with you in just a moment.’”

However, Duke Energy representatives said it’s all part of a fraudulent scheme.

“I think the fear is what causes people to react and believe the story that they’re hearing,” said Dan Rhodes, with Duke Energy. “That’s why we want people to know that they just need to call us directly.”

He said about 75 people have fallen victim to this fraudulent scheme recently.

Rhodes said Duke will never call customers asking for money and will always send a notice by mail.