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Authorities Warn of Scammers Posing As Utility Employee

Officials say criminals are calling people and falsely telling them they must pay their utility bills with a pre-paid cash card or face immediate service termination.

Authorities warned Southlanders about criminals who have been telephoning people and falsely telling them they must pay their utility bills with a pre-paid cash card or face immediate service termination.

Southern California Edison (SCE) is advising its customers to be aware of a new telephone scam that is demanding immediate payment for allegedly past due electricity bills.

Imposters have been calling SCE customers telling them they must make immediate payment on past due bills or have their electric service disconnected.

The callers are also demanding that payment be made through a prepaid cash card, such as a PayPal or Green Dot card.

“We ask our customers to be alert to these calls that demand immediate payment and threaten service disconnection,” Henry Martinez, SCE vice president of Safety, Security & Compliance said in a statement.

“Customers suspecting a fraudulent call should ask for the caller’s name, department and business phone number. If the caller refuses to provide this information, customers should terminate the call and report the incident immediately to local police or SCE at 800-655-4555.”

The fraudulent activity has been directed at some customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power according to the Southern California Gas company. 

SoCalGas also warned customers to be aware of the payment scam. There are no indications that SoCalGas customers have been targeted at this point, according to Gas Co. spokeswoman Denise King.

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Michael Dwells February 11, 2013 at 05:11 AM
I felt obligated to post because I got a call like that too, purportedly from my telephone service provider. The lady rep said I missed paying my bill and service would be cut off unless I make a payment right away. I noticed that the calls started coming after I changed my phone number 2 months ago. I was alarmed because these people knew me but the telephone company denied having made such calls. Said it was a scam and disregard the calls. Although I was able to avoid becomeing a victim to the scheme, it's alarming how these crooks got hold of my information. Is it possible that the telephone company probably sold them that? I've reported this call to http://www.callercenter.com and several people who commented said it's highly possible.

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