ROBINSON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — John King, owner of Olympos Gyros in Robinson, and his assistant Steve Spanoudakis were working their food establishment as usual when a call came in.
“So I got a call from Duquesne Light claiming that our power was going to get disconnected for non-payment,” Spanoudakis told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday.
Spanoudakis wrote the telephone number down for King.
“At that point, I was like there’s no way we owe any money because our bill comes out automatically every month,” said King.
Believing it was a scam, the two decided to return the call and record it.
“We might as well try to record this and document it, just so it doesn’t happen to anyone else,” said King.
Recording: “Thank you for calling Duquesne Light. For residential press one; for business press two.”
It sounded legit — until the fraudster claimed over $1,500 was due.
Recording: “Right now there is an overdue balance on the account of $1,580.06.”
King was told to purchase a same day payment card.
Recording: “You need to go to Rite Aid and you need to purchase a same day payment which is called Money Pak.”
And to avoid same day loss of power, King was told, “You need to do it within the next 30 to 45 minutes, sir.”
King responded, “What if I just call the police and tell them about the scam you guys are running right now.”
The scam artist hung up.
When King later talked to Duquesne Light, he was told he’s not alone.
“They had had 29 other calls after they had heard what had happened to me.”
So here’s the bottom line.
Duquesne Light will never turn off power on 40 minutes notice.
The Public Utility Commission just won’t allow it.
So if you get a scam artist asking you for money right away to avoid a power shut-off, do yourself a favor. Call customer service at Duquesne Light directly, not any number that’s left on your phone.
You’ll then be able to avoid being a victim of a scam.