While many in Culver City get their water from Golden State, it doesn’t stop the scammers from calling to claim their Department of Water and Power bill is overdue. Or Edison, or even internet providers. These phone calls have been going on for years, and they are targeting people who may be weary, fearful, and concerned about paying bills. The recent uptick in the frequency of these scams is just about crooks taking advantage of moment when many are struggling.
One of the numbers used by the scam is (844) 350-6331; they introduce themselves as Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, say your payments are delinquent, and threaten to shut off service. They might even tell you “they have a technician on the way,” to shut off your service.
There are also calls pretending to come from SoCal Edison, and even Apple. The vague but ominous sounding phrase “There is a problem with your account…” can trigger panic from people who have no reason for concern.
Even if you are not paid in full, utilities do not call you to demand instant action. That kind of demand only comes from crooks. Remember, con artists start by creating confusion. Once they have you off balance, then they can start creating panic. When you are panicked, you simply can’t think. Your brain has shut down all the critical thinking areas to address the crisis, and the flood of fear prevents you from creating a thoughtful response.
Don’t fall for it. Some people try to engage, knowing that it’s a scam, thinking that they can have some fun messing with the crooks. Time could be better spent doing almost anything else. If you wish to report the scam, you can call 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit ftc.gov/complaint.
You might also call a friend, someone you trust, and describe what happened. Tracing the exchange logically can help diffuse the panic.
You can always call a utility – water, electricity, internet – and find out what and how much you owe, and what the deadline is for payment. With the pandemic, just about everyone has an available payment plan or option to defer.