BEVERLY HILLS – The City of Beverly Hills is warning residents of a utility scam known nationwide as the “Green Dot Scam.”

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued an alert on the scam, which involves the following criteria:

  • A customer receives a telephone call from an individual claiming to be from a utility company. The caller says that the customer’s power, water, or gas will be turned off within a short period of time if they do not immediately make a payment. (The callers are able to manipulate the Caller ID on the customer’s phone so that it appears as though the call is actually coming from the utility company.)
  • The caller then tells the customer that payment is only accepted through the purchase of a “Green Dot” pre-paid debit card, typically available at Walgreens, CVS, or RiteAid.
  • The caller provides the customer with a phone number to call to make the payment once they have purchased the Green Dot card; or, the caller calls the customer back so they can make their payment.
  • Once the customer has provided the caller with the Green Dot payment information, their money is gone permanently. This differs from previous, similar scams that allowed for credit card or checking account payments which provided the customer with some ability to recoup their money.

The City of Beverly Hills wants residents to be aware that the City may contact customers about their utility service, but want them to be aware that:

  • Customers have the right to tell the City employee calling that they would like to call the City of Beverly Hills back to verify the information. The contact number for the City of Beverly Hills utility division is (310) 285-2436.
  • The City will not demand a particular form of payment. All customers have the ability to pay the City using any form of payment accepted.

If a customer suspects they have been a victim or target of a scam they are asked to contact the Beverly Hills Police Department at 310-550-4951.