Reports of con artists trying to rip off Pasadena residents by posing as representatives of Pasadena Water and Power continue, prompting city officials to renew their warning about the scam.
The utility announced that new incidents of PWP impersonators trying to dupe people out of money via telephone calls were reported Wednesday.
“Scammers are calling from the phone numbers (424) 367-7195, (424) 672-1966 and (626) 901-3560 and are threatening to shut off customers unless they make a payment by pressing 1 during the automated phone call,” the PWP said in a written statement.
“Remember that PWP has suspended all utility shutoffs and will NOT call customers demanding payment. Please be vigilant,” the statement added.
The city issued an alert in July after learning of a series of similar scam attempts.
Common tactics include making phone calls, visiting homes, and posting online ads promoting purported government assistance programs in which victims are asked for banking or social security information. The crooks also pose as PWP workers and demand payment under threat of service cutoff. In addition, victims report getting unscheduled visits from fake utility workers posing as meter readers or offering “home energy audit services.”
PWP said the agency never notifies customers about their accounts via telephone.
“Customers with delinquent accounts will receive a ‘Final Notice’ and ‘Disconnect Notice’ from PWP by U.S. Mail notifying them of their account status,” according to the statement.
“Delinquent payments must be made in person at the City Hall Municipal Services counter, online via customer login, or by phone at 626.744.4005.”
All PWP employees wear visible picture IDs, with the city seal and employee number printed on them, officials said. They will also have their supervisor’s phone number on-hand.
“Outside contractors hired by PWP will have a badge that identifies them as a PWP contractor. Contractors working with our Home Improvement Program or the SoCalGas® Energy Savings Assistance Program will always schedule home visits with the customer before visiting,” the statement added.
“Periodically, however, PWP may run a program that uses contractors to give information to customers door-to-door. Please call 626-744-4005 to verify they are working with the utility.
“Always look for an official city vehicle outside,” the statement added. “PWP employees never use personal vehicles to make service calls.”
Meter readers and water quality staff do not need to enter a home, unless the meter is located in a service porch area or the customer has requested an interior inspection, according to the PWP.
Anyone who experiences a scam attempt is urged to report it to the Federal Trade Commission, which can be done online at ftc.gov.
More information regarding the impersonation scams is available online at ww5.cityofpasadena.net/water-and-power/fraudprotection.