DWP Telephone Customer Scam NR13032df

February 6, 2013

Los Angeles:  Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) want to warn the public about a scam where customers are told they must pay their bill with a pre-paid cash card or face immediate service termination.

During the last few months the LAPD and LADWP has observed an increase in the frequency telephone scam reports.  The scam involves imposters posing as utility personnel, contacting customers by telephone and informing them they are behind in payment of their bill, threatening immediate service termination as a means of forcing the customer into remitting payment for a fictional account balance.  The imposter provides a phone number and instructs the customer to purchase a pre-paid cash card for the fictional balance, then collects the card information to pay their fictional bill.

LADWP offers customers numerous options to pay their bills. Customers who choose to pay by phone may only do so through the voice automated payment system. LADWP personnel cannot accept payment information verbally over the phone. LADWP personnel will not contact customers by phone and ask for verbal payment.

For customers whose accounts may have fallen behind, the Department offers payment plans and other assistance upon request. If a customer is facing possible service termination for non-payment, LADWP will have made contact with the customer on numerous occasions, well in advance of the actual shut-off. It is unlikely a customer will be facing immediate service termination without prior knowledge.

Any customer who has a question about a phone call or in-person contact with a DWP employee may call 1-800 DIAL DWP to confirm employment and purpose of contact.

Anyone wishing to report a crime may remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.

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