BPUB Warns About Spike in Scam Calls
The Brownsville Public Utilities Board (BPUB) warns customers of a recent increase in scam calls. Scammers are using a series of telephone numbers to contact and threaten to disconnect customers and to collect past due payments through third-party payment methods.
Over the last few days, BPUB’s Call Center received roughly 10 calls from customers who reported scam calls. The calls are from a variety of numbers including 808-707-8629, 956-562-3550 and 585-687-9863 impersonating not only BPUB employees, but employees of other utilities across the Rio Grande Valley.
When customers answer, they receive an automated Spanish-speaking voice message directing them to click “1” to speak to an agent. Once the agent connects with the customer, they ask for personal information to confirm their identity. Customers who confirm their identity and proceed with the call are directed to pay over the phone via debit or credit card.
Scammer’s capabilities for spoofing or disguising caller identification (ID) can make the phone number on the caller ID appear to be a local phone number. Spoofing makes it easier for scammers to deceive customers and more difficult to verify the call.
Customers should be cautious whenever speaking to a live operator through an unsolicited call by someone claiming to work for BPUB. BPUB will never seek payment via the telephone, especially not through Zelle, Cash App, PayPal, dot. Card or any other prepaid card or mobile payment service. BPUB will also never request to confirm your personal information via telephone or threaten to disconnect.
As a reminder, BPUB suspended services disconnections beginning Oct. 21, 2022 through Feb. 28, 2023.
Customers should follow these general tips for scams:
- Never provide or confirm personal information (Social Security number, date of birth) or financial information (banking account information, debit or credit card information) to anyone over the phone, in person, or by email.
- Do not be rushed. If someone calls, appears, or emails saying you have to pay your bill immediately to avoid disconnection, tell them you want to verify that they are a legitimate BPUB representative.
- Ask the person calling to provide an account number, last payment amount, date of payment, and employee identification number.
- Report the scammer. Document what the scammer said, including their name, the date and time the call was made, their caller ID number, their employee identification number, the method and amount of payment they requested, and any phone number they requested you call to pay your bill, and any other details that might aid in a possible criminal investigation.
- Never make a utility bill payment to anyone calling you on the phone, coming to your door, texting you, or emailing you.
- Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows, or click on links or attachments in emails; delete them.
Customers should report any unsolicited requests for payments, personal information, bank routing numbers, or property access to the Brownsville Police Department at (956) 548-7000 or by visiting the nearest community police station.
For more information on scam prevention, visit www.brownsville-pub.com or call Customer Service at 956-983-6100.