The Brownsville Public Utilities Board (BPUB) warns utility customers about people claiming to work for or on behalf of BPUB calling residents and demanding payments.
According to reports, a person posing as a BPUB employee calls a customer and demands a payment for repairs or an outstanding bill. The caller instructs the customers to buy a pre-paid cash card and call back with the details. These callers have been known to speak in both English and Spanish, and these phone calls have used caller ID spoofing to disguise the originating number and to make it look like BPUB is calling.
Utility customers can avoid being victimized if they:
- Do not allow anyone into your home 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 photo identification and call BPUB to verify employment.
- Verify calls and visits claiming to represent the local utility company. To verify BPUB collection calls, please call (956) 983-6121.
- Do not provide Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or bank account information to anyone who requests it during an unsolicited call or in-home visit.
- Only make a payment to a BPUB cashier, on the BPUB website, at a registered pay station or through the automated phone service. Go here for a list of authorized BPUB pay stations.
BPUB does not use live operators to make collection calls or request payments for other services, like repairs. Customers behind on payments may receive a call with a recorded message regarding a past due balance, but customers are never asked to make a payment through an unsolicited phone call.
Unsolicited requests for property access, payments, personal information and bank routing numbers should be reported to the Brownsville Police Department at (956) 548-7000 or by visiting the nearest community police station.