Protect Yourself From Utilities Scams

Scammers are making the rounds and targeting Palo Alto Utilities customers. They have your name and address, and need your money or else your utilities will be disconnected within the hour. The caller sounds convincing, because they are a Customer Service Representative and need your payment or else.

A fake representative may also convince you to solicit your personal information such as your full social security number or bank account information.

Protect Yourself

Verify the Call

  • Scammers will pretend or pose as a City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) employee. Some callers have been able to spoof the utilities customer service phone number as a legitimate caller ID.
  • Suspects will try to convince you that your utilities bill is past due and your utilities service will be shut off if you do not send money right away. 
  • You may be asked to pay by money transfer service, such as pre-paid cards from CVS or Walgreens.
  • You may be asked to pay by wire transfer from downloading a mobile bank app.
  • Scammers will provide a 1-800 call back number or give a fake employee ID and extension number.

How You Know It's a Scam

  • CPAU will contact you in writing and through other means of communication if your account balance is overdue.
  • We will NOT DEMAND immediate payment over the phone and threaten to shut off services.
  • We will NEVER ask you to pay your utilities bill with a pre-paid debit card - using these untraceable cards will prevent you from ever getting your money back.
  • We will NEVER ask you to download any apps to start mobile payments or transfers.
  • We will NEVER ask for your full Social Security number or bank account information over the phone.
  • CPAU offers several flexible payment options such as online through MyCPAU and automated phone system.


What Can Be Done?

Take Action Against Caller ID Scams

  • Call (650) 329-2161 to verify your current utilities status.
  • Follow us on Twitter. We will post on social media as quickly as possible to spread awareness. 
  • Notify your neighbors and friends.
  • Read Palo Alto Police Department's crime prevention tips for scams, schemes, and fraud.
  • If you have been scammed, file a report with the Palo Alto Police Department.

File a Police Report