by Winston Chua
PASADENA – The Pasadena Water and Power Department cautions Pasadena residents to be vigilant when it comes to who they speak with when it comes to paying delinquent electric and water bills. Random people are calling local residents to solicit financial information and threatening to have customers’ utility service disconnected. It’s something PWP says it would never do.
“This specific issue has been going on now for a couple of weeks,” De Leon said. “Scammers are calling our customers in Spanish and English, requesting people to pay their utility bill to avoid disconnection.”
In recent weeks impostors posing as PWP or local utility employees are calling utility customers by phone for personal information and/or requesting that these persons purchase gift cards at the local CVS, Walgreens or other pharmacy. De Leon said PWP will never ask for a customer to purchase a gift card or request financial information over the phone.
“It’s important to get the word out, to share this information with friends and family,” said PWP Marketing Manager Wendy De Leon. “The more people who know, the less likely these things are to happen.”
If someone calls and asks for payment by gift card or tells you to go to a nearby pharmacy, it’s not the PWP. Also be aware of any calls asking to provide personal financial information (social security number) or demanding that you pay your bill with a pre-paid cash card or credit card.
Unscheduled home visits from burglars posing as PWP inspectors are another part of the problem.
Reported incidents have been on the rise in recent weeks, and PWP is working with Pasadena police officials to put a quick end to this issue.
Customers with delinquent accounts will receive a “Final Notice” from PWP by U.S. mail before any phone contact from PWP is made. The notice will list a final due date and payment methods.
PWP payments can be made by phone, but these transactions are customer-initiated, not by solicitation. Customers can always make payment at Pasadena City Hall’s Municipal Services counter and online via customer login as well.
The PWP’s website lists a number of fraud alerts that can help customers be aware of what’s going on.
If you or anyone you know is a witness to suspicious activity, call the Pasadena Police Department at (626) 744-4241.
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