by: Kevin McCarty Updated:TACOMA, Wash. —
Callers claiming to be collecting overdue bills for Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) continue to target residents and businesses.
Adriatic Grill owner Monique Trudnowski said her business received one of the calls. “Immediately we knew something was suspicious,” said Trudnowski.
The callers tell people their power will be turned off that day unless the bill is paid immediately. They instruct the victim to purchase a prepaid card to make the payment.
That’s what a hostess at Trudnowski’s business was told. “They told her we owed $438.88 and if we didn’t pay it within the hour or the whole business would be closed.
But as a TPU board member, Trudnowski knew that couldn’t be right, so she called the man back. “And it was a gentleman with an accent that answered the phone and he changed the amount to over $1,200 that we owed,” Trudnowski said.
TPU is warning customers not to fall for the scam. “We never demand payment, we may offer them the opportunity to pay over the phone,” said TPU spokeswoman Chris Gleason. “But we don’t insist that they get a prepaid card and we certainly don’t threaten immediate disconnection.”
TPU has a link on its website warning customer about the scam. You can learn more by clicking here: http://www.mytpu.org/news.aspx?news_id=1270&page_id=87&y=0&m=0