Scammers disguising themselves as Pasadena Water and Power (PWP) employees are attempting to extort money from commercial and residential customers, threatening to shut off service unless a payment is made immediately over the phone.
Within the last week, customers have reported two different scam attempts. One of the attempts uses “spoofing,” a technique used by criminals to falsify the telephone number so it appears as if calls are coming from another source, such as PWP. The other scam attempt uses a non-PWP phone number, but replicates PWP’s recorded customer service message so that callers believe they are speaking with a real PWP employee. While spoofing is a common fraud attempt, PWP alerts customers to be especially vigilant of this type of identity theft. Recognize that scammers are becoming more clever and bold.
Customers including local businesses can protect themselves by becoming familiar with how PWP resolves bill-related issues. Customers with delinquent accounts will always receive a “Final Notice” from PWP by U.S. mail before any phone contact from PWP is made. While bill payments are accepted over the phone, PWP encourages customers to use the secure online payment system or make a payment in person at the City Hall Municipal Services counter.
Customers with concerns about a caller may:
- Request their name, identification, employer name, and a call back number
- Call PWP at (626) 744-4005 to verify the legitimacy of the caller
Call the Pasadena Police Department at (626) 744-4241 to report a fraudulent payment
And this, From PasadenaNOW:
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials are warning Pasadenans that con artist impersonators claiming to be local law enforcement are calling residents and falsely threatening them with arrest if the victims don’t pay up for “outstanding arrest warrants.”
The Sheriff’s Department cites one Altadena resident who was called at their house by a man from the local 626 area code, saying at he was an L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy. The “deputy” told the resident they had two warrants for arrest for missing jury duty.
They also said a $1,000 cash bond was needed to be paid, or they would be arrested, the Sheriff’s Dept. reported.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not call you to demand money for arrest warrants. If you are contacted over the phone and are suspicious, ask for the callers name and employee number and call our station, (626) 798-1131 or whichever police department they are representing and ask to verify the information.
If the caller tells you to put money on a prepaid card and give him the card number, your scam-detecting radar is going off the charts, the Sheriff’s Dept. cautioned.
Police departments — and the federal government, for that matter — don’t tell people to pay with prepaid cards. Using a prepaid card is like paying cash — once the money is gone, you can’t get it back.
More sophisticated scammers may have caller ID that shows the local police departments name. What once seemed like reliable information about the source of a call isn’t so reliable anymore.
Scammers can rig caller ID to look like they’re calling from the police department. Or, really, anywhere — even your own number. Don’t rely on caller ID. It’s not foolproof. Scammers can easily spoof it to try to gain your trust. If it looks like the police are calling, call the Altadena Sheriff’s non-emergency phone number (626) 798-1131 and call to find out if the story is legit.
Officials urge victims to report the imposter to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint Select the category “Scams and Rip-offs” then “Impostor Scams.”
One last thing:
If you get an email with an atatachment or link from anyone, check the sender's email address. If it is not from the domain name or person that it claims to be, delete the email right away and DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS OR OPEN ANY ATTACHMENTS.
If there is any doubt at all, inquire before you open.