PHONE SCAMMERS TARGET LADWP CUSTOMERS
Department Reminds Customers:
|LOS ANGELES- Impostors posing as utility personnel are contacting Los Angeles Department of Water and Power residential customers by telephone and threatening immediate service termination as a means of forcing payment for fictional account balances, the Department’s Security Services Division reports. Speaking at a news conference this morning with Los Angeles City Councilmember and Public Safety Committee Chair Mitchell Englander and Los Angeles Police Department Commander Andrew Smith, LADWP Director of Security Services Patrick Findley recounted the details of the ongoing scam, reports of which have increased in recent months.
During the phone call, the impostor provides a phone number and instructs customers to purchase prepaid cash cards for the fictional account balance and then call back once they have the card to provide the unique card number and PIN, and thereby pay their “bill.”
The Department reminds all customers that LADWP employees will never contact customers and ask for personal payment information over the telephone. Payment by telephone can only happen through the Department’s voice automated payment system, not with live employees. LADWP personnel do not accept payment information verbally over the telephone.
“These thugs are preying on the most vulnerable people in society, particularly seniors on fixed incomes who would be alarmed to hear that their water and power might be cut off. Public awareness is our best protection. DWP will never call you and ask for a cash card or credit card number or other personal financial information so if you get a call like that, hang up and call 1-800-DIAL-DWP. We’ve got the LAPD working hard on this, and we will catch these scammers.”
Additionally, any customer who is contacted or visited by LADWP personnel can confirm their employment and purpose of contact with the Department by calling 1-800-DIAL-DWP prior to engaging with them.
“It is important for our customers to know about this scam and crime that is occurring with greater frequency in the past month,” said Findley, himself a former LAPD Captain. “Thankfully, this is easily preventable and the more awareness there is, the less likely it is to happen. Please help us spread the word so we can shut these scammers down.”
To view and print the flyer that was displayed at this morning’s news conference, click here. A scam alert also began running last month in Connections, the LADWP customer bill newsletter.
“Safety and service excellence are of the utmost importance to all of us at LADWP, and victimization of our customers will not be tolerated,” said Findley. “These impostors, when they are caught, can expect to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”