Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities’ (RPU) customers are reporting that they have received calls from utility impersonators requesting over-the-phone payments. The phone scammers are deceiving customers into paying non-existent water and electric bills with threats of service shut-off.
Customers are being asked to purchase pre-paid cash cards, such as “Green Dot MoneyPak” cards, in the amount demanded. Once the card has been purchased, customers are then urged to make payments over the phone using the number on the card.
A similar scam involves a call notifying customers that a water or electric meter needs to be replaced to avoid a high bill in the following month. The customer is then asked to pay several hundred dollars to process the fictitious meter change out. While customers’ meters do occasionally need to be replaced, RPU will never ask for payment to initiate the process.
Riverside Public Utilities’ is urging customers to avoid being scammed by being informed. Here is what RPU customers need to know:
- RPU will NEVER call a customer to ask for payment information over the telephone. All transactions are customer-initiated.
- RPU will NEVER share any customer information with others, personal or account-related.
- RPU will NEVER ask customers to purchase pre-paid cash cards to pay a utility bill.
- RPU does not have an “800” toll free number.
- If RPU customers receive a call asking for a cash card, credit card, person-to-person cash payment, or a request for any other personal information, they are urged to hang up immediately and report the incident to the Riverside Police Department by calling (951) 826-5314. Riverside Public Utilities’ customers can pay their utility bill using these methods:
1. By mail using the envelope provided with their utility bill;
2. In person at any of RPU’s customer service centers (listed);
3. By calling (951) 782-0330;
4. Online at RiversidePublicUtilities.com
In-person utility payments can be made at the following locations:
Utilities Plaza in Downtown 3460 Orange Street, 92501
Customer Resource Center in Casa Blanca 3025 Madison Street, 92504
“RPU customers should know that we will never call and ask for personal payment information,” said RPU Assistant General Manager Michael Bacich. “We are working with the police department to investigate these incidents, and we are asking our customers to help us get the word out about this scam to help others avoid becoming victims.”
To reach customers regarding billing, RPU only uses paper billing statements, online billing emails, late payment reminder mailings, or green 48-Hour Notice tags.
Customers with questions about suspicious phone calls demanding payments or overdue accounts can contact the utility at (951) 782-0330.
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