Statewide– Scams targeting electric and natural gas customers are on the rise, with imposters implementing new tactics during the pandemic to trick utility customers out of money and personal information.June 2020 was the highest single month on record for reported scam attempts targeting Duke Energy customers across the states it serves, hitting more than 4,000. The total number of scam attempts reported by Duke Energy customers so far in 2020 – 15,000 – already is approaching 2019’s full-year total of 18,000. In Indiana, Duke Energy customers have reported more than 1,400 scam attempts in June, which is close to the total reports for all of 2019.Scammers have added a new tactic, which promises to mail customers refund checks for overpayments on their accounts if they can confirm their personal data, including birthdays and, in some cases, social security numbers. Generally, Duke Energy will apply refunds as a credit to customers’ accounts and will not contact customers to verify personal information by phone, email, or in-person in order to mail a check.Scam reports also indicate that phone scammers posing as utility providers continue to call and insist customers are delinquent on their bills. The scammer typically claims a service disconnection is pending, rigs caller ID to mimic your utility provider, and demands the money in the form of a prepaid debit card. Duke Energy has currently suspended disconnections for nonpayment.Common scam tactics include:• A call with pre-recorded voice, often referred to as a robocall, with a caller ID display showing the customer’s utility’s name.• A mimicked Interactive Voice Response menu that customers typically hear when they call their utility.• Threats to disconnect the power or natural gas service to a customer’s home or business within an hour.• Immediate payment demands by prepaid debit card.• And, with many utilities suspending non pay disconnections during the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers are now promising refund checks if the customer makes a payment and the pending disconnect was an error. Customers who suspect they have been victims of fraud or who feel threatened during contact with one of these scammers should:• Hang up the phone, especially if it’s a robocall.• Call the utility provider by using the phone number provided on the bill or on the company’s official website, followed by a call to the police.• Never purchase a prepaid debit card or gift card to avoid service disconnection or shutoff. DO NOT pay over the phone if immediate payment is demanded by a prepaid card to avoid disconnection. Legitimate utility companies do not specify how customers should make a bill payment, and they always offer a variety of ways to pay a bill, including accepting payments online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail, or in person.Customers can learn about recent scams and how to recognize the warning signs on the Federal Trade Commission website www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts.
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is one of the most marketable fighters on the Bellator MMA roster and the reigning flyweight champion is quickly making her way through the competition. So with that in mind, why not use this space to introduce you to someone who could find herself standing across the cage from “The Illiminator” somewhere down the line if everything breaks the right way?Join DAZN and watch Bellator 218 plus more than 100 fight nights a yearWhile just 2-0 in her professional mixed martial arts career, Hermansson is one to keep tabs on as she enters the Bellator MMA cage for the first time this weekend in a preliminary card pairing with Victoria Leonardo.Hermansson has come out on the happy side of split decision verdicts in each of her first two starts, with her last appearance coming last April under the Cage Warriors banner. Prior to making the transition to MMA, however, the Swedish flyweight competed in the boxing ring, racking up more than 50 bouts by her count while medaling at the national level.And at this stage of her development and the development of the Bellator women’s flyweight division, a sound background in a core martial art coupled with a little bit of toughness and strength could be enough to pick up the wins needed in order to secure a title shot.Combing through her social media pages, “The Herminator,” who gets bonus marks for such a terrific nickname, appears to be in tremendous shape and naturally athletic, two additional elements that will potentially aid in her ability to make an expedited climb up the flyweight rankings.Some people may want to take this as a slight, but the female ranks are several years behind where their male counterparts are at the moment. As such, fighters who are athletically sound and skilled in an individual disciple have a great opportunity to succeed. Hermansson appears to fit that description and if that is the case, she could make a quick rise up the rankings.This weekend’s fight with Leonardo will be an outstanding indicator of where she stands, as the Louisiana native is coming off a first-round submission win over Jamie Milanowski at Invicta FC 34 and sports a 4-1 overall record inside the cage. She’s faced some familiar names while competing across three disciplines, having beaten Ariel Beck in a boxing match and lost to Shannon Sinn in a kickboxing bout, along with facing Hailey Cowan, Salina Rowland and Miranda Maverick in MMA bouts, so if Hermansson can cruise into Bellator 218 and hand Leonardo her second loss, it will indicate that she’s already on the cusp of contention and someone who indeed possesses championship upside.Fights like this often go overlooked because the athletes are unknown to everyone but the hardest of hardcore fans, but the reality is that in a shallow division with a dominant champion, a couple solid performances is all it takes for someone like Hermansson (or Leonardo) to put themselves in position to fight for the title or at the very least, face off with one of the more established contenders in the division with a title shot hanging in the balance.Hermansson profiles as someone who could make an immediate impact in the division and although her Bellator MMA debut is stationed on the preliminary portion of this week’s card, you should make a point of checking it out because eight, 10, 12 months down the line, she could emerge as a challenger for the flyweight title. Prior to every event, Under the Radar will cast the spotlight on an up-and-coming talent who shows the potential for growth in their division and isn’t getting enough attention as they head into battle.Name: Malin HermanssonRecord: 2-0 overall; Bellator MMA debutDivision: FlyweightTeam: Akademi Nord
Dear Editor,I have just had the benefit of reading the press reports of the acting Commissioner of Police on the location of Mr. Lyte at the time of the events which led to the deaths of three men on the 15th March 2018.It is unfortunate that the acting Police Commissioner — who indicated support for the officers of the Guyana Police Force involved in the incident, and voiced his opinion on the events which occurred on March 15th, 2018 — would choose to publicly challenge a citizen who was brave enough to come forward and provide a statement, especially since he has not had the benefit of interviewing that citizen.Needless to say, the absence of confidence which several eyewitnesses expressed to me and other independent investigators about the ability of the Guyana Police Force to protect their safety when their own officers are the subject of the allegation of murder, has been confirmed by the statements of the Commissioner.I confirm that on Monday afternoon Mr. Lyte met with Mr. Paul Williams, Crime Chief, in the Office of the Crime Chief at Eve Leary. The sole purpose of going to the Crime Chief’s Office was for Mr. Lyte to give a statement. The senior officer whom Mr. Williams contacted was not available at the time, and we agreed that we would return on Tuesday at lunchtime.In the intervening period, Mr. Lyte contacted me and expressed the collective fear of his entire family regarding his safety and protection.In an effort to persuade him that his fears were exaggerated, I attended his home, where I spoke with his grandmother and sister, both of whom were adamant that he would not be attending any Police station, as they were afraid for his safety and that of their family.I confirm that I attended the Softball Association of Guyana’s ground on Carifesta Avenue on Wednesday morning, where I spoke with a person who described himself as a supervisor, who confirmed the presence of Mr. Lyte at the location on March 15th 2018, but said he was not on the roof at the time of the shooting.I subsequently learnt from another source that the contractor was interviewed by the Police prior to my arrival, and was in fear of losing his contract with the Government to repair the building.Earlier this morning, we delivered a letter to the Commissioner of Police, expressing the exact fear of Mr. Lyte. A copy of the letter is attached for your benefit.Today I have personally interviewed two additional eyewitnesses who were at much closer proximity to the shooting, and whose line of sight was considerably more proximate than that of Mr. Lyte. Copies of their statements, with redactions to protect their identities, are attached.I also spoke to both the Minister of Public Security and the Crime Chief about the fears of the witnesses regarding their safety. This was prior to the Commissioner’s statements, issued later this afternoon.In light of the considerable fear and apprehension felt by eyewitnesses, who have provided me with statements of the events of March 15th 2018, the family of Mr. Cordis is of the opinion that it is beyond the capacity of the Guyana Police Force to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the death of Dexroy Cordis.These statements have disclosed a frightening chronology of events, which have cast not only grave doubts on the version of events provided by the Commissioner of Police, but include a recount of one of the Police officers turning his guns on a group of persons who were playing football at the Guyana National Service ground when they were observed looking on at the events. A copy of these statements with the sensitive details is also attached.Both of these witnesses have expressed little confidence in the ability of the Guyana Police Force to protect them, and in light of the public statements and treatment of Mr. Lyte by the Commissioner of Police, who commented with the benefit of an interview with him, the fears of the two witnesses along with that of Mr. Lyte are now fully justified.I personally telephoned both the Minister of Public Security and the Crime Chief today to express these fears.The family of Mr. Cordis is now of the firm belief that the Guyana Police Force cannot be trusted to conduct a fair investigation into the deaths of these young men, and consequently wishes to call for a full, independent investigation into the events of the 15th March 2018.Also, I am not sure whether the good commissioner was a member of the Guyana Police Force when I took Mr. George Bacchus, a whistle blower on the phantom squad, to the Guyana Police Force, after having taken him to the United States Embassy.My recollection is that despite the sterling efforts of the Guyana Police Force to protect Mr. Bacchus, he also died of unnatural causes.The more things change…Yours sincerely,C.A. Nigel Hughes.Partner.