LAPD Wilshire Community Police Station SLO Charles Thomas and Ofc. Robert Davenport want community members to be on the lookout for calls from people posing as LADWP workers.
The LADWP imposters claim that a customer has an unpaid bill and must pay it immediately or her/his services will be terminated. The scammer then instructs the unsuspecting customer “to purchase a ‘Green Dot Money Pak’ card then call back with the PIN number listed on the back. The scammers instantly access the payment from the card, according to LAPD/Wilshire SLO Perry Jones in a March 11 E-Police newsletter.
The LADWP scammers target seniors especially, pointed out LADWP Director of Security Services Patrick Findley in a LADWP press release last year. "These thugs are preying on the most vulnerable people in society, particularly seniors on fixed incomes who would be alarmed to hear that their water and power might be cut off…. DWP will never call you and ask for a cash card or credit card number or other personal financial information so if you get a call like that, hang up and call 1-800-DIAL-DWP. We've got the LAPD working hard on this, and we will catch these scammers," warned Findley.
"LADWP offers customers numerous options to pay their bills. Customers who choose to pay by phone may only do so through the voice automated payment system. LADWP personnel cannot accept payment information verbally over the phone. LADWP personnel will not contact customers by phone and ask for verbal payment.
For customers whose accounts may have fallen behind, the Department offers payment plans and other assistance upon request. If a customer is facing possible service termination for non-payment, LADWP will have made contact with the customer on numerous occasions, well in advance of the actual shut-off. It is unlikely a customer will be facing immediate service termination without prior knowledge.
Any customer who has a question about a phone call or in-person contact with a DWP employee may call 1-800 DIAL DWP to confirm employment and purpose of contact.
Anyone wishing to report a crime may remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts,” according to a LAPD news release.
Established in August of 2008 by writer, artist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.