City Provides Safety Tips for Residents to Avoid Phone and Internet Scams
LONG BEACH, CA – In response to recent phone and internet scams being reported by Long Beach residents, the City of Long Beach is providing the following information and safety tips for residents and business owners to avoid becoming victims of fraudulent calls, text messages and email scams.
City Utility Service Scams
Long Beach Utility Services, comprised of natural gas, refuse, sewer and water services, has recently seen an increase in call volume from customers reporting fraudulent calls. These calls and text messages are coming in listed as the City’s utility call center number, 562.570.5700, and someone is posing as a City utility worker claiming that the customer’s utilities account bill is past-due and that their electricity or utility service will be terminated unless immediate payment is made.
City utility customers should be aware of the following:
- City Utility Services will never initiate a phone call or text requesting immediate payment. If you receive a call and there is a demand for payment, you should disconnect the call and report the fraudulent call to the Utility Customer Service Line at 562.570.5700.
- If the City were to contact you about your utility bill, an automated voice message is sent asking for you to call Utility Services so the matter can be resolved. The City never calls utility customers demanding immediate payment to avoid disruption to utility services and frequently works with customers to resolve bills including the issuance of utility bill payment assistance programs.
- Questions regarding a utility account may be directed to a customer service representative at 562.570.5700. The Customer Service Line is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Other Phone or Internet Scams
The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) is providing the following information to ensure community members and their finances are better protected from phone and internet scams. These scams can involve job offers, home sales or rentals and, in some cases, threats for monies owed to the IRS, or money for a family member that has been arrested or involved in an accident. Other scams can involve computer repair or the purchase of items from websites such as “Craigslist” or “Offer up.”
LBPD is providing the following to avoid falling victim to these scams:
- If someone calls claiming you have a warrant out for your arrest, hang up and call LBPD at 562.570.7260 to verify. Never call the number provided by the caller or the number that shows up on caller ID.
- If someone calls claiming you owe money to the IRS, hang up and call your local IRS office. Law Enforcement agencies, including LBPD, and the IRS will never accept wire transfers, money orders, Bitcoin, other cryptocurrency, or gift cards as payment.
- Never give out personal information such as name, date of birth, social security number or bank information to unsolicited callers.
- Never respond to an unsolicited email asking you to confirm personal information such as bank accounts or passwords.
- Be wary of job offers that want you to receive wire transfers or checks and send money somewhere else.
- If someone calls claiming a family member has been involved in an accident or arrested, call a family member and confirm that this is true. Never wire money or pay someone with gift cards before verifying the information.
- Never trust the number that appears on your caller ID. Technology allows fraudsters to fake the caller ID information.
- Understand that wiring money, paying with gift cards or mailing money orders to someone is like sending cash.
Phone scams should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov. Internet scams should be reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. Additional resources on scams and identity theft are available on these websites. To report any other suspicious activity, call the City’s non-emergency phone tree at 562.435.6711.
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