The City of Palo Alto is warning people to beware of calls from utility workers.
A business owner alerted the city after getting a call from someone who said he was overdue on his utility bill and that his power was going to be shut off if he didn’t pay over the phone right away.
An initial investigation found that the calls were being made from the Los Angeles area by people identifying themselves as with the "Department of Water and Power."
“As you can imagine, that rattles people,” said Debra Katz, utilities communications manager for the City of Palo Alto. “Even if they have paid their bill, especially a business, they think, ‘Uh oh. I have to act quickly to stop my power from being shut off’ and then agrees to give a credit card number or other information, which then a thief has.”
The City of Palo Alto Utilities Department says it has a policy of sending out several written warnings before taking the step of turning off a customer’s power.
Employees are also trained to identify themselves as being with the City of Palo Alto in every phone call.
Anyone with concerns about should call Palo Alto’s customer service center at (650) 329-2161. If the caller really was from the City of Palo Alto Utilities Department, a customer service rep will be able to verify it.