Crime Trackers

Nov 8, 2013 9:28 PM by Lupita Murillo

Scam targets some TEP customers

TUCSON - The Pima County Sheriff's Department has received a number of calls regarding someone posing as a Tucson Electric Power employee.

Maria Bonillas received a call from a Spanish-speaking woman claiming to work for TEP telling her she had to pay $345, or have her power shut off.

Bonillas said she was stunned because she had just paid the TEP bill on Nov. 4th but the woman had told her that TEP has changed their billing system. The money would go into a special account that she could have access to but needed $200 to get a check for $545.

Bonillas almost believed the scam had it not been for her neighbor, Pauline Tapia. Tapia knew something was wrong especially since Bonilla told her that TEP will only accept cash. Tapia said she knows that TEP accepts credit and debit cards.

Tapia called TEP as Bonilla remained on the phone with the woman.

"The TEP representative told me she (Bonillas) has no balance due right now," said Tapia, "She's current, and not to allow her to pay any money. This was a fraud."

Bonillas advises that people be alert and ask for the person's name when they call. She said that she asked about 10 times for the woman's name but she would not say.

The Sheriff's department Fraud Unit said one woman lost $1,200.

TEP has also posted this scam on their web site.

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