News release - 3/28/2014

Published 3/28/2014 (all press releases for this day)

Jeri Williams
Chief of Police
Oxnard Police Department

R. Jason Benites
Assistant Chief

Scott Whitney
Assistant Chief



INCIDENT: Operation Safer and Stronger: Scams target Oxnard Residents and Southern California Edison Customers
DATE/TIME: 03/28/14
LOCATION: Citywide
PREPARED BY: Miguel Lopez, Community Affairs Manager
Miguel Lopez, Community Affairs Manager (805) 385-7631
Southern California Edison Media Contact: David Song, (626) 302-1203 or 24-hour media line at (626) 302-2255

DETAILS:The end of March brings the third installment of Oxnard Police’s Operation Safer & Stronger crime prevention public service announcement.  This month the Oxnard Police Department is highlighting scams targeting Oxnard residents and business, as well as Southern California Edison customers.

“We have seen continuing telephone scam attempts targeting Oxnard and the central coast, since the start of the year – and continue to advise community members to be alert and cautious,’ said Miguel Lopez, Oxnard Police Community Affairs Manager. “As we understand, these calls are not coming from local numbers, instead from out of state, another country, or numbers that are hard to track.  Often times, they are cold calls, that catch residents off-guard and demand immediate payment to avoid an interruption in service,” Lopez added.
Southern California Edison (SCE) is also advising customers to be aware of on-going telephone scams that are demanding immediate payment for allegedly past due electricity bills.
Imposters have been calling SCE customers – at home and businesses - telling them they must make immediate payment on past due bills or have their electric service disconnected. The callers are also demanding that payment be made through a prepaid cash card, such as a PayPal or Green Dot card. Further, SCE reports that 90% of these scams are targeting business, with a majority (80%) targeting minority and small businesses.
“We ask our customers to be alert to these calls that demand immediate payment and threaten service disconnection,” said Henry Martinez, SCE vice president of Safety, Security & Compliance. “Customers suspecting a fraudulent call should ask for the caller’s name, department and business phone number. If the caller refuses to provide this information, customers should terminate the call and report the incident immediately to local police or SCE at 800-655-4555.”
SCE also reminds customers to ask for identification when a stranger comes to the door or calls claiming to be a utility worker. SCE utility workers will provide verification, including their department and phone number, when asked.
In most cases, home visits by SCE are scheduled by the customer and SCE will confirm the appointment in writing. If there are any concerns, SCE and Oxnard Police suggest having the utility worker wait outside until their identity can be verified. 
Oxnard residents and SCE customers should also note that:
·         An SCE employee will never ask for money in person.
·         If SCE does need to contact and call you, they would be calling from an 800-number. SCE never calls to collect payment.
·         Never reveal your credit card, ATM or calling card numbers (or PIN numbers) to anyone.
·         If someone calls and requests you leave your residence at a specific time for a utility-related cause, call the police. This could be a burglary set up by the caller.
·         Be suspicious of anyone who arrives at your house without an appointment asking to check an appliance, wiring, or suggesting that there may be some other electrical problem inside your residence
If you are a victim of such scam, you are encouraged to call the Oxnard Police Department to file a police report.  Oxnard Police is working with corresponding prosecuting and other agencies that are investigating these crimes, nationwide. 
The Operation Safer and Stronger initiative was launched by Chief of Police Jeri Williams in response to the increase in crime, especially the rise in preventable property crime. Oxnard Police has been releasing monthly public service announcements to target trends citywide, and offering crime prevention tips to address these challenges. In addition, bi-monthly public crime prevention seminars have been scheduled.  The next Crime Prevention Seminars are scheduled for Thursday, April 17th at Channel Islands High School Cafeteria and Friday, April 18th at Hueneme High School Library, both from 6:00-7:30pm (both in English with Spanish translation available. To RSVP please contact Detective Crystal Walker at
  DATE / TIME PREPARED:   3/28/14 4:00pm.

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