Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities’ (RPU) water and electric customers should be aware of a telephone scam where victims are being threatened to provide personal information to pay their utility bills or have their utilities shut off.
According to the Riverside Police Department, this scam has been going on in different parts of the country for several years. Reports have recently been received from RPU customers who have been contacted by these unauthorized individuals who falsely represent the city’s utility and try to obtain a bank account or credit card number for payment.
While caller identification may show a local or out of state area code, there are several technologies and methods that allow scammers to conceal the actual area codes or countries they are calling from. Once a victim’s bank or credit card account information is provided, money is immediately withdrawn and it is unlikely that the funds would be recovered as the information was willingly provided.
Riverside Public Utilities customers should be advised that the utility would never call and ask for personal payment information nor request it in person. Customers are only contacted via paper billing statements, online billing emails, through late payment reminder mailings, or green 48-hour Notice notification tags placed at utility property sites only. Any RPU personnel out in the community drive clearly marked city vehicles, wear city uniforms, and display photo identification.
Any additional late payment contact would only come from Riverside Public Utilities’ Credit and Collections Department. Customers who have any questions about a suspicious phone call demanding payments or who have questions regarding an overdue account can reach RPU Credit and Collections at (951) 826-5835.
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