DAVIS, Calif., August 17, 2020 — Yolo County residents are advised to be on the alert for scam phone calls purporting to be from their energy provider.
According to one Davis resident who received such a call last week, the caller apologized for overcharging her on her utility bill, explaining that the overcharge was from a third-party supplier.
She was told to press 1 to apply for a rebate check, but the woman hung up, believing that the caller was attempting to gain access to her bank routing and account numbers.
Valley Clean Energy, Yolo County’s public not-for-profit local electricity provider, would like to reassure its customers that it never asks for a customer’s banking information over the telephone.
“We’re concerned that our customers may believe we’re offering refunds and fall victim to these unscrupulous impostors,” said Don Saylor, chairman of the VCE board of directors and a Yolo County supervisor.
Added Don Malloy, an investigator with the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, “I doubt that any legit company would apologize for charging you too much — they’d just send you a refund check.”
According to the AARP, scammers often make utilities a common subject of impostor scams, by far the most common type of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission. The scammers are after the customers’ money or their identities.
While some impersonators call homes and small businesses demanding payment for supposedly delinquent bills and threatening to terminate service, others may say the customer has overpaid and ask for bank account or credit card information to make a “refund,” the AARP reported.
Anyone who has received such a call recently is asked to contact the district attorney’s fraud unit at 855-496-5632 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, a fraud unit complaint form can be accessed online at https://yoloda.org/contact-us/.