In recent weeks, an alarming scam has surfaced in our community, specifically targeting residents in relation to Duquesne Light meter replacements. It is crucial for citizens to be aware of this fraudulent activity in order to protect themselves and their personal information.

The Scam:

Scammers, pretending to be Duquesne Light representatives, are claiming that immediate meter replacements are needed. Using phone calls, emails, and in-person visits, they deceptively present themselves as authentic utility employees. Their scheme involves warning individuals that their service is on the verge of disconnection today, citing a missed security deposit payment supposedly required for a supposed meter upgrade.

They will inform you that the only way to prevent disconnection is an immediate payment via debit card or cash. They may ask for it over the phone, or they may send you to an office in Pittsburgh, or even a local Walmart to send payment.

Warning Signs:

To avoid falling victim to this scam, it is essential to be aware of the following warning signs:

  1. Unsolicited Contact: Duquesne Light typically communicates with customers through official channels, and they do not initiate unsolicited visits or calls for meter replacements. Be cautious if someone contacts you unexpectedly.
  2. Pressure Tactics: Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to create a sense of urgency, claiming that immediate action is necessary to avoid service interruptions or penalties. Legitimate utility companies provide ample notice for any planned maintenance or upgrades.
  3. Requests for Personal Information or Payment:** Be wary of any requests for personal information, credit card details, or payment for a meter replacement. Duquesne Light and other reputable utility companies do not ask for sensitive information in such a manner.
  4. Security Deposit Requests: Scammers may also ask for a security deposit as part of the alleged meter replacement process. Legitimate utility companies typically do not request security deposits in this manner.
  5. Cash or Debit Card Payment: Be cautious if the scammer insists on cash or debit card payments. Reputable utility companies usually accept payments through secure and traceable methods.
  6. Requests to Visit Their Office: Scammers may ask you to come to their Pittsburgh office to make arrangements. Legitimate utility companies typically conduct official business through established communication channels and not through in-person visits to unfamiliar locations.

Protect Yourself:

To protect yourself from falling victim to this scam, consider the following steps:

  1. Verify the Caller’s Identity: If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from Duquesne Light, ask for their name, title, and a call-back number. Then, independently verify their identity by contacting Duquesne Light directly through their official customer service number. Do not be swayed if the fraudulent representative knows information about your account.
  2. Do Not Share Personal Information: Never share personal information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card details, or other sensitive data, with unknown individuals or over the phone.
  3. Contact Duquesne Light: If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a meter replacement request, contact Duquesne Light directly using the official contact information available on their website or your billing statement.
  4. Educate Others: Spread awareness about this scam within your community to ensure that others are also informed and can take necessary precautions. By staying informed and vigilant, we can collectively protect ourselves and our community from falling prey to scams like the Duquesne Light meter replacement scheme. Remember, it’s always better to verify and be cautious rather than risk falling prey to fraudulent activities.
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