Sheriffs warn business owners of new telephone scam
Southern California Edison, IRS representatives impersonated
OW Staff Writer | 2/21/2014, midnight
Sheriff’s deputies are warning business owners in Acton of a telephone scam that allegedly requests persons to submit $2,500 to Southern California Edison (SCE) in payment for equipment upgrades.
On Feb. 14, a retail business on Crown Valley Road received a call stating the electricity would be shut off if the money was not paid immediately. The business owner offered to provide his credit card for payment, but the caller declined and directed the person to proceed to a local retail store and purchase “Green Dot” prepaid money cards totaling $2,500. He was then told to call the assigned number and provide the card code number; the victim called SCE to inquire about the previous call and was told he was being scammed.
A representative from SCE advised that business owners be aware of the trick and that the power company does not contact customers by phone for payment. Notices are sent by regular mail.
Palmdale Sheriff’s have received reports of several versions of the scam. In some cases, the caller has claimed to be from the Internal Revenue Service and demands payment for back taxes. Other callers have said they were from a utility that claims the victim’s recent payments were accidentally credited to a refund account and that a refund check was on its way...but immediate payment was requested via a preloaded credit card in order to prevent an interruption of service.
In these instances, Sheriff’s officials want persons to get the caller’s information, hang up and dial 411 to identify the business’s legitimate number, and then call back to confirm the legitimacy of the call.