BROWNSVILLE, TX — The Brownsville Public Utilities Board (BPUB) warns utility customers of a theft scam involving unsolicited phone calls using caller ID spoofing to display the Brownsville Public Utilities Board and its number.
The caller then pressures victims to pay an unpaid utility bill or risk having service disconnected.
According to reports, customers receive a phone call that displays the Brownsville Public Utilities Board name and number on caller ID. A person posing as a BPUB employee then tells the customer that services will be disconnected unless a specified amount is paid toward the account with a pre-paid money card.
BPUB customers have been warned about this type of activity before, but this is the first time there have been reports of BPUB’s number showing up on the caller ID for these types of calls. Caller ID spoofing, when callers deliberately falsify the telephone number and/or name that shows up on caller ID to disguise their identity, is a tactic that hasn’t been previously reported. All BPUB customers should stay alert when receiving calls of this type.
Utility customers can avoid being victimized if they:
- Refrain from providing Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or bank account information to anyone who requests it during an unsolicited call or in-home visit.
- Avoid being pressured by a caller over the telephone to make a payment other than to a BPUB cashier, on the BPUB website or at a registered pay station.
- Verify calls claiming to represent the local utility company. To verify BPUB collection calls, please call (956) 983-6121.
- Avoid allowing anyone into their homes to check electrical wiring or water pipes unless an appointment has been scheduled or a utility problem has been reported.
- Ask utility employees to provide legitimate proper photo identification or call BPUB to verify employment.
Unsolicited requests for payments, personal information and bank routing numbers should be reported immediately to the Brownsville Police Department at (956) 548-7000 or by visiting the nearest community police station.