Business & Economy

SoCal cities warn residents to watch out for scammers posing as utility employees

Burbank Water and Power.
Burbank Water and Power.
Sid Penance via Flickr

An aggressive group of scammers are posing as utility employees and threatening to cut off people's power if their victims don't pay their supposedly overdue bill, authorities in Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena said Thursday. The scam has claimed victims in all three cities, but officials warn the scammers could targeting other areas as well.

Callers demand hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, officials said. In a recent two-week period, Burbank Water and Power logged over 40 reports of scam calls, according to a joint statement released by the three cities.

Posing as a utility bill employee, the scammer typically asks that caller purchase a pre-paid debit card at a store, according to the statement. After funds are added to the card, the victim is supposed to call the scammer to share the card information.  

"It’s important for utility customers to know that the utility company does not accept payment in this manner and will never call and threaten to immediately shut down power," the' statement said.

In addition to calling customers, scammers have also targeted businesses during peak hours. 

If you receive such a call, authorities ask that you report it to the the local police and contact your utility using the number on your bill to make sure your account is in good standing.