Sacto 9-1-1
September 15, 2010
Sacramento police warn of phone scam targeting utility customers

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The Sacramento Police Department is warning residents of a scam targeting utility customers that could compromise the customer's credit card and bank information.

Police said the Sacramento Municipal Utility District notified the department of the scam this week. It is accomplished by someone pretending to work for a utility company contacting the victim by phone. The person tells the victim that there is a billing issue involving a lack of payment and that their utilities will be turned off without immediate payment.

The victim, thinking their service will be turned off, provides the caller with credit card or bank information that can be used to compromise the victim's accounts.

Police remind people never to provide personal information -- including Social Security, credit card and bank account numbers -- over the telephone.

SMUD reports that its customer service representative will never call a customer and ask for financial information over the telephone.

Anyone who receives a suspicious call is advised to ask for the caller's name, then hang up and call the utility company's published phone number.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

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