Scammers Posing As City Employees To Con Victims

Monday, June 15th 2015, 11:30 pm
By: News On 6

Scammers are calling people saying they're from Tulsa, and their phone numbers back it up, but police said the calls are coming from international thieves, trying to steal your credit card information.

Police said the crooks are targeting homes and businesses, and typically call during busy hours like lunch or dinner.

They demand you to pay an overdue bill, but they'll take more than just a few hundred bucks.

They say they're with the City of Tulsa, but the people calling to collect your utility bill payment aren't actually city workers, according to Sergeant Alicia Maurer with Tulsa Police.

6/15/2015 Related Story: Police, City Of Tulsa Issue Scam Alert

"The city of Tulsa is never going to shut your water off because they only give you 30 seconds to give them your information," she said. “"They're trying to make the customer concerned that they're going to lose their water and so you better pay them fast."

It's the latest scam in Tulsa and Maurer says it's unique because it's being done in the city's name.

Scammers are threatening to shut off water, sewer and stormwater service unless people pay up and give their credit card number over the phone.

The calls come in on a 918 number, but that doesn't mean they're local.

"My suspects are generally outside of the United States, definitely outside the state," Maurer said.

In her experience, companies rarely, if ever, ask for credit card information over the phone, but scammers do, and they've done it often in Oklahoma, recently using PSO.

A scam alert from November says, "A caller...has left messages claiming to be PSO, and the customer should call immediately before disconnection of their electric...This is not a valid number for PSO."

But who is really on the other end of the calls?

Maurer said the scammers are out of her jurisdiction, are almost impossible to track down and are making bank.

"These guys are making outrageous money for doing absolutely nothing other than phone calls," she said. "They're kind of just able to exercise their criminal activities all on their own."

Police said scammers also use apps to disguise their voices, making it even harder to identify them.

The City of Tulsa does make courtesy calls, but will never ask for your credit card information over the phone.

To verify your account balance you can call the city at 918-596-9511. If you are a victim of this scam, police want you to file a report on the Tulsa Police Department's web page.