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Telephone scam targets PUD customers

A telephone scam is targeting utility customers in Columbia County, warns the Columbia River People's Utility District.

PUD customers have reported calls from people threatening to disconnect power if a payment isn't made immediately over the phone via credit card, or by purchasing a pre-paid credit card and calling back with the code.

Customers should be wary of giving out information over the phone. The callers may identify themselves as representatives of PGE, PG&E or the PUD.

"The PUD would never demand a payment only by credit card or prepaid credit card," said Sheila Duehring, PUD accounting and customer service manager. "We'll always offer other payment options, so if that's the only choice being offered, it's not the PUD calling you."

"If you have any doubts about a caller's identity, don't give them any information," she said. The safest thing to do is to hang up, call the PUD office at 503-397-0590 and contact local police to report the call.

Customers who receive suspicious calls are encouraged to note the phone number on their caller ID, the phone number they are asked to call with payment information and any other information the caller provides.

The PUD typically notifies customers who are facing disconnection because of nonpayment through mailed notices, door hangers and phone calls. The PUD also offers several paying options including local pay stations, visiting the PUD office or paying online at www.crpud.net.