Tampa Bay electric utilities caution customers about telephone scam
Caller targets Spanish-speakers, poses as utility employee to entice a debit card number
ST. PETERSBURG AND TAMPA, FLA., February 7, 2013
Progress Energy Florida and Tampa Electric have joined together to warn customers of a recent telephone-based scam in the Tampa Bay area that targets Spanish-speaking residents.
In the past several weeks, the utilities have received several dozen complaints that someone impersonating a utility representative has called them – claiming their account was past due or there was a problem with the electric meter that required a deposit. The caller demands the customer buy a prepaid debit card from a local drug store and call back with the card’s number to avoid disconnection. These scams have ensnared customers. A version of this scam first surfaced in the summer.
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:
- In Hillsborough County, call 813-223-0800
- In Polk County, call 863-299-0800
- In all other areas, call 1-888-223-0800
If you suspect you have become a victim of this scam, the utilities recommend you:
- Call your utility to inform them of the scam, and
- If you have lost money, 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 Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), 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 meeting 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. More information is available at 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. TECO Energy’s other major subsidiary, TECO Coal, owns and operates coal production facilities in Kentucky and Virginia.