After receiving reports from customers who have been contacted by fraudulent individuals claiming to represent the Turlock Irrigation District, the district is warning customers not to fall for the scams and report any deceitful phone calls to their main office.
According to TID, several customers have received phone calls from scam artists acting as TID representatives while threatening to disconnect their service for non-payment. The fake representatives are demanding customers to make a payment over the phone, often with an untraceable pre-paid card or something similar.
Instructing the customer to call back with payment information within a short period of time, the scammers are requesting a credit card information for payment in which they turn around to use for fraudulent transactions.
"TID wants all our customers to know that we do not call to solicit payments on past due accounts after hours and we never ask them to pay via a pre-paid money card," said TID spokesperson Calvin Curtin. "If we do contact them regarding a past due bill during normal hours, we request they make the payment in a TID office."
Although customers can make a payment via credit card over the phone, TID says that customers who are subject to disconnection are notified by mail and phone of their delinquent status prior to having the service disconnected. TID will send delinquent customers several notices requesting payment, as electrical disconnections are a last resort.
The scammers, who are typically assertive while phishing for information will tell customers that their checks have been returned without a signature or the amount was not enough, should the customer tell them they have already paid their bill. Some customers have reported the scammers instructing them to go to a store and purchase an untraceable pre-paid money card to use for payment over the phone - a request that TID customer service staff would never demand.
"Always be skeptical of pushy people who demand payment or personal information, like your Social Security number, credit card or bank information," said Curtin, "especially if they threaten to turn off your power. When in doubt, hang up and call our customer service line."
While the fraud attempts are occurring during normal hours, many have reported receiving the calls during the evening. TID only makes calls to customers in an attempt to collect past-due accounts Monday through Friday during normal business hours - never on the weekends or evenings.
To learn more ways to combat fraudulent activity, visit www.tid.org/customer-service/for-your-protection