El Centro Police issue Fraud Alert

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el-centro-police-department logoEL CENTRO – Officials at the El Centro Police Department are working with the Imperial Irrigation District advising residential and commercial customers to take precautions when someone claiming to represent a utility company contacts them either in person or by telephone.

“Scammers are targeting residential and commercial customers in our region with the Green Dot MoneyPak scam,” said Commander Robert Sawyer. “Scammers are telling customers that their electric bill is delinquent and will be shut off for non-payment unless the customer purchases a Green Dot MoneyPak.”

Commander Sawyer says victims are given instructions to call a scammer’s telephone number with their credit card account number and pin. Once the scammer obtains the card’s identifying information, officials say the value is then downloaded and stolen. These transactions are untraceable.

Many companies, including the Imperial Irrigation District, will contact customers in person or via phone for various reasons. If someone claims to represent the Imperial Irrigation District, officials say it’s important that individuals take precautions to verify that the person calling is affiliated with the utility company, especially if that person is requesting an immediate monetary payment.

When addressing past due accounts, most utility companies never endorse a specific form of payment. Instead, Sawyer said, multiple payment options are given to the customer. “If you receive these calls, don’t be bullied or intimidated by these callers. Immediately hang up and verify the request with your utility or government agency. Do not call back the agency on the number that the caller provides. The scammers are prepared for this.”
For further information on current scams, residents can check with he following: Federal Trade Commission at: 1-877-FTC-HELP. National Consumer League, who offers secure on-line reporting only at Fraud.org. Greendot website at: https://www.moneypak.com/ProtectYourMoney.aspx#Scams