The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department is warning residents to be wary of phone scammers. The most recent scam involves fake calls from a utility provider known as Southern California Edison.
The callers pose as representatives from the county and have started calling renters, homeowners and business owners. They tell whomever answers that the electric bill is past due and that immediate payment is needed. If immediate payment is not made, they say, all service can and will be cut off. In many cases they will request that payment be made to a GreenDot card of or through PayPal. This type of request should be a big red flag.
A growing number of those targeted are small business owners and minorities. A spokesperson from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department has said they have received dozens of complaint calls about this scam. A representative from SCE said that if anyone receives this type of call to get the caller’s name, business phone number and the name of the department they work with. If the caller refuses to provide this information you should hang up. In addition, residents are asked to immediately contact SCE as well as their local law enforcement agency.
Further, customers should be equally skeptical about unscheduled visits from people who might be posing as SCE employees. In many cases these types of appointments will reportedly be confirmed in advance. The confirmation is usually in writing. If someone shows up at your door unannounced do not let them into your home. Call SCE right away to verify their identity.
Anyone who believes they might have information that could lead to the arrest of these scammers is asked to contact the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.