Tampa Bay electric utilities caution customers about telephone scam
Caller poses as utility employee to entice a credit card number from customers
ST. PETERSBURG AND TAMPA, June 6, 2012
Progress Energy Florida and Tampa Electric have joined together to warn customers of a recent telephone-based scam that has surfaced in the Tampa Bay area.
In the past several weeks, each utility has received several complaints from small businesses, such as medical clinics, law firms and nail or hair salons, that someone impersonating a utility representative has called their office. In some cases, the scammer has targeted residential customers or Asian-owned businesses. The caller, sometimes a man and sometimes a woman, claims the customer’s account will be disconnected shortly because of an unsigned check or unpaid balance, and he or she then requests a credit card number to avoid the disconnection. In at least two cases, customers supplied credit card numbers, which were later used illegally.
Neither Progress Energy Florida nor Tampa Electric will ever call to ask for credit card or debit card numbers. If you are uncertain about an individual's association with your utility, please contact the company for verification:
- For Progress Energy, call 1-800-700-8744
- For Tampa Electric, call 1-888-223-0800
If you suspect you have become a victim of this scam, the utilities recommend you:
- Immediately call your credit-card company to cancel the card
- Call local law enforcement to file a report.
All Progress Energy and Tampa Electric employees and contractors doing utility work are required to carry photo identification cards. If someone claiming to be a utility representative visits your home or business, request to see their badge or please call the company to verify their identity.
Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meet the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information about Progress Energy, visit http://www.progress-energy.com/ .Tampa Electric Company is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE), an energy-related holding company with regulated utility operations in Florida, including both Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System. Tampa Electric serves nearly 676,000 customers in West Central Florida. Other subsidiaries include TECO Coal, which owns and operates coal production facilities in Kentucky and Virginia, and TECO Guatemala, which is engaged in electric power generation and energy-related businesses in Guatemala.