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Scammers trick utility customers into paying them quickly

Better Call Behnken

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A St. Petersburg man is the latest victim of a scam circulating the Tampa Bay area.

“I was the last person I thought would fall for a scam,” said Jack Sally, who owns an air conditioning business. 

But when his phone rang recently and the caller ID read, ‘Duke Energy,’ he believed that he was speaking with Customer Service. The caller threatened to cut off electricity at the home where his daughter and grandchild live. They said the bill was late, and he needed to pay immediately.

Jack fell for the scam, even when the crook asked to be paid in Green Dot Money Cards.

“They said this was the quickest way to get them the money so my daughter’s electricity wouldn’t be turned off,” he said. 

He called back and gave them the pin for a card for the amount of $255.95. Shortly after that, they called him back, demanding more money: $355.30.

Jack says he fell for their phony story that they miscalculated the past due amount. He bought another Green Dot Money Card. 

When they asked for money a third time, Jack wised up and called out the crooks for scamming him. He says they laughed at him and bragged about all the people they had scammed that day. 

“They said they had already scammed an older man into paying them $14,000, thinking it was for taxes,” he said. 

“I just don’t want it to happen to anyone else,” Jack said. “I was the last person I thought would ever get scammed. I thought I had better common sense.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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