Phone scammers target Butte residents

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Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.

Butte county district court officers warned residents Thursday about a scam involving Pacific Gas and Electric.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey said in a news release that his office has received several complaints over that last few days about individuals calling customers of the power company and telling them they have a debt that needed to be paid immediately.

A local private school was most recent attempt in which officials at the school received a call and said they needed to provide a credit card number immediately or the school’s power would be cut off. Ramsey said the theft was almost successful but a last minute call to the local Pacific Gas and Electric office thwarted the effort.

Those targeted have said the people calling have what was described as either an Indian or Jamaican accent. The locations of the calls have been traced from as far as New York and Texas, according to the release.

Ramsey said that debt collectors are prohibited from saying:

  • You will be arrested if you don’t pay your debt.
  • They’ll seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages unless they are permitted by law to take the action and intend to do so.
  • Legal action will be taken against you, if doing so would be illegal or if they don’t intend to take the action.

The Federal Trade Commission and California Attorney General website have more information on how to avoid being scammed.

David McVicker can be reached at [email protected] or @DavidPMcVicker on Twitter.