An old scam is making the rounds again, and police and Duquesne Light are warning local residents to be aware.
The con artists call customers and tell them they owe money, said Alicia George, spokeswoman for Pittsburgh Police, which sent out an alert on Thursday. The scammers tell the customers that unless they pay the balance immediately, their power will be shut off.
Although similar scams have made the rounds of the Pittsburgh area before, this time, the scammers are sending fake information over Caller ID so that the calls actually appear to be coming from Duquesne Light.
“The callers are getting more savvy in their approach,” said Jessica Rock, Duquesne Light spokeswoman.
“Residents need to know that Duquesne Light would never call you and threaten termination that same day,” she said. “There is a process for terminations.”
Several Mon-Yough residents have reported on Facebook that they have received the calls this week. The scammers tell customers to go out and buy pre-paid gift cards to pay the balance.
Rock and George said Duquesne Light would never ask customers to purchase pre-paid cards to pay off a balance. Residents who receive a call purporting to be from Duquesne Light, who are unsure whether the call is legitimate, should call the company at (412) 393-7100 to verify the information.
People who suspect they have been targeted by the scam should call their local police, Duquesne Light and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555. They also are encouraged to file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, according to Duquesne Light.
The utility company has set up a webpage with additional information about the phone scam, and other scams.
Originally published December 27, 2018.