LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is joining the Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) initiative to raise awareness about the growing threat of utility scams targeting customers.
In alignment with International Fraud Awareness Week, LADWP supports Utility Scam Awareness Day on November 15, focusing on educating customers about prevalent scam tactics.
Recent reports highlight scammers impersonating utility workers to gain access to financial information or coerce immediate payments by threatening service disruptions. A common tactic involves scammers posing as LADWP employees, demanding payment through third-party digital methods like Cash App, Zelle, or Venmo—an approach LADWP does not endorse.
George Rofail, LADWP Chief Customer Officer, emphasized vigilance: "We will never ask a customer for Zelle or Venmo or direct them to local stores for bill payments through ATMs or cryptocurrency machines."
This year's UUAS campaign, "Screen the Search," addresses the surge in digital utility impostor scams, including sponsored ads leading to fake payment pages, QR codes linked to scam payment sites, and texts with false utility representative claims.
To defend against scams, customers are advised to recognize signs of scam, such as:
- A threat to cut your service unless an immediate payment is made.
- Telling you to pay using bitcoin, prepaid cards, or third-party payments apps like Venmo and Zelle.
- Pressuring you to act fast.
Rofail urged customers to verify unusual requests by contacting LADWP directly or checking account status online at ladwp.com.
LADWP encourages customers who suspect scams to report incidents online at www.ladwp.com/scamalert and reminds them to reach out to local law enforcement or the Federal Trade Commission if they feel threatened or have fallen victim to fraud.