Utility-worker imposters scamming businesses, police warn

Burbank police are warning that people impersonating utility workers are reportedly attempting to swindle local businesses by calling and claiming they are late on their utility bills and they need to pay up immediately.

Burbank Water and Power impersonators are reportedly telling employees at a number of businesses that their water and power will be turned off within two hours if they don’t pay an outstanding bill, said Burbank Police Officer Joshua Kendrick.

The employees are then reportedly being asked to meet the caller at a random location, such as Vons or CVS Pharmacy, to pay the bill, Kendrick said.

At least six businesses have reported to city officials that they had received phone calls within the last week, and at least two fell for the scam, Kendrick said. The loss to the two businesses was not immediately available.

“People are trying to be different in the way they’re able to get money,” Kendrick said of the impersonators. “They’re trying to take advantage of people who might not know what to do when those situations happen.”

No arrests have been reported, and the investigation is ongoing.

Utility customers have four methods to pay their bills, officials said, including by mail, in person at utility offices, through payment boxes located throughout the city and online at www.burbankwaterandpower.com.

Anyone with questions about how to make a utility payment can call Burbank Water and Power at (818) 238-3700. Businesses that may have received a call from an impersonator are encouraged to call Burbank police at (818) 238-3210.

-- Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

Follow on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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