Over the past two weeks, several businesses in Lompoc received calls that their utilities were going to be shut off in 30 minutes unless they submitted payment by card via phone for the past due amount.

The caller identified himself as Steve Martinez. The managers and owners of the businesses immediately contacted the City of Lompoc Utility Department and were told the calls were a scam.

One business owner reported the caller said he had an outstanding debt on his utility bill and someone from the city would come to his business and pick up the balanced owed in cash. The owner insisted he would pay his bill at City Hall. Of course, nobody arrived at his business to collect the cash payment.

This scam has not been limited to businesses. One residential customer called saying he received an email stating that his utilities were switching to PG&E and that his bill was past due and in danger of being shut off if he did not pay.

If you receive a call from someone falsely representing themselves and demanding payment please report the call to the Police Department. Also remember to never give your personal information or credit card information without verifying the information.

 — Sgt. Chuck Strange is a public information officer for the Lompoc Police Department.