PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (CBS12) — Last month, CBS12 brought our viewers a story about an FPL scam going around neighborhoods in West Palm Beach. Now a similar situation is being seen along the Treasure Coast.
Gilbert Novick and Jacqueline Anghel-Novick were on vacation when they said the Ring doorbell camera outside their house in Port St. Lucie captured something out of the ordinary.
"I didn't think anything much of it until I saw these two people talking to our daughter and saying oh yeah, your neighbor, the Haitian man recommended us to come over. Is Jacqueline home? And she said no, no, they're out of town,” Anghel-Novick said.
Anghel-Novick said the young men dressed in shorts and t-shirts never said who they were with. But they did have a lot of questions for their daughter, who was home alone at the time. One of those questions being if they can check her electric meter, which is powered by Florida Power & Light.
“Maybe if it was me, I probably thought you know, you know FPL, they come themselves,” Anghel-Novick said.
We spoke with FPL spokesperson Bianca Soriano, who said she isn’t surprised something like this happened.
“Oftentimes summer means higher usage, higher usage means higher bills. And, unfortunately, scammers take advantage of this and make fake phone calls or knock on customer doors to make them feel like their power might get disconnected,” Soriano said. “Their main way to get in your door or in your bank account is to really make you feel like you're either going to lose power or lose your water. You know just to make you feel like your service will get disconnected if you don't do X thing, and it's really.”
But if on the rare occasion FPL comes to your door, they'd be in uniform, with a marked car, and a badge. That wasn’t the case here.
Novick said that was just one of the red flags they noticed.
"The funny thing is they knocked on the door, they didn’t ring the doorbell. I guess they thought if they rang the doorbell they’d trigger the camera,” Novick said.
While everything turned out fine after their daughter shut the door, the “what if’s” are what scare them the most.
“I’m just wondering what they were after. What kind of scam? Maybe if she would’ve come out, they would’ve gone in. I really don’t know, any outcome could’ve happened,” Anghel-Novick said. “What if they come back at nighttime?”
FPL told us they’ve been seeing an uptick in scams over the past few years, but especially during summer months.
If there’s ever an uncertainty about whether the person at your door is legitimate or not, you can call FPL directly.