City: calls about bills are phony
The San Marcos City Utility office is warning commercial and residential customers of a scam in which a caller claiming to work for the city is threatening to disconnect utilities unless the customer makes an immediate payment using a Green Dot or other type of Visa, Master or American Express gift card. Several commercial account customers have recently reported receiving such a call.
“The city utility staff does not make collection calls threatening to disconnect the services and we never ask you to pay with a gift card over the phone,” said Ernest Cavazos, utility billing manager. “We do automated courtesy calls advising customers of their due date, but the calls will not demand immediate payment.”
The city accepts utility bill payments online at www.sanmarcostx.gov/utilitybilling, through an automated phone number at 512-393-8333, at city of San Marcos utility offices at 630 E. Hopkins and 1040 Highway 123, at San Marcos H-E-B stores and The Money Box.
Residents who receive calls that appear to be scams should notify the San Marcos Police Department at 512-753-2108 or report it to the Utility Billing office at 512-393-8383.
Here are a few more tips to avoid phone scams:
• Don’t always trust caller ID. Some scammers use spoofing software, which enables a false name and phone number to show up on caller ID. Using this tactic, scammers are asking for customers to pay overdue bills.
• Be cautious about giving out your credit card and debit card information. Some fake utility bill collectors will request that you call a special phone number because you’re overdue on your bill and need to pay immediately. Then, you’ll be asked to provide your credit or debit card number. Don’t give out your credit or debit card information in this situation. Instead, call the customer service number for the city to check the status of your account.
• Don’t wire money. Some scammers request that you wire money to avoid a disconnection. You should never wire money to a person you don’t know.