Scam targets utility customers

GLENDALE — Officials on Wednesday warned that several Glendale Water & Power customers have fallen prey to a scheme in which a caller posing as a utility representative asked for credit card information to cover a bogus past-due balance.

Some utility customers reported hundreds of dollars worth of fraudulent charges as a result of the scheme, which city officials discovered Wednesday morning, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

The utility called all customers Wednesday to notify them of the scheme and to warn against giving out their credit card information.

The scheme was discovered after utility customers began calling Glendale Water & Power to report monetary losses, Lorenz said.

Victims reported receiving calls from people who said they were from the Glendale Community Hotline, which was collecting outstanding utility balances over the phone. The callers asked customers to give their credit card information to prevent the utilities from being shut off.

The callers identified themselves as Linda James and Michelle Williams. Calls were made from (818) 548-3301, officials said.

The phone number was registered to the city, but the callers used an Internet-based program to have their call show up as a city phone number, Lorenz said.

City officials said the utility does not accept payments over the telephone.

Police also sent out a mass e-mail Wednesday morning warning residents about the scheme.

Residents or businesses owners who received a similar call should write down any details the caller provides and then immediately call Glendale Water & Power at (818) 548-3300.

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