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Utility scam reports increase during COVID-19 Pandemic

Local News
Brownsville public utilities board.jpg

Brownsville Public Utilities Board Logo (Source: Brownsville Public Utilities Board)

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The Brownsville Public Utility Board warning the public that scammers are not taking a break during this public health crisis.

From a press release sent out today, the Brownsville Public Utilities Board has received an increase in scam reports from customers during the COVID-19 pandemic in recent weeks.

According to reports, scammers threatened to disconnect services if customers do not purchase a $350 prepaid card to pay them. In another case, two salesmen working for a solar company request information and access into customer homes. Reports indicate the salesmen do not have proper BPUB identification and are driving personal vehicles.

Currently, telephone scammers are using a technique called “spoofing” that disguises their caller ID to appear as BPUB’s main line. The release adds that “spoofing” makes it easier for scammers to deceive customers and makes it more difficult to immediately verify the call.

BPUB will never make unsolicited home visits requesting access into customer homes or call a customer requesting payment.

Customers can avoid being victimized if they:

  • Ask for a contractor badge with the BPUB logo
  • Verify the identity of anyone claiming to represent BPUB by calling (956) 983-6121
  • Never allow anyone into their home to conduct unsolicited or non-scheduled inspections
  • Never provide Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or bank account information

BPUB, in collaboration with Hardin & Associates Consulting LLC., is continuing to schedule state-mandated customer service inspections (CSIs) for new service connections only and with a prior scheduled appointment.

Before a Hardin associate visits, a customer is required to have already scheduled an appointment. Unsolicited requests for property access, payments, personal information and bank routing numbers should be reported to the Brownsville Police Department at (956) 548-7000, said the press release.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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