BURBANK, Calif. (KABC) -- Business owners in Southern California are being targeted by scammers posing as utility companies attempting to collect on so-called tardy utility bills.
Law enforcement officials in Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena said they've seen an ongoing utility scam in which people are told they will have their power shut off right away if they don't pay up.
"A utility is not going to call you out of the blue and demand payment, that is an instant sign that there is something wrong and that's a scam," Eric Klinkner with Pasadena Water and Power said.
Investigators said this type of crime comes in waves and people in Southern California should be on the lookout after they've seen in increase in just the last couple weeks.
In Burbank alone, 20 businesses reported receiving similar calls.
"If you're in the middle of a business day, you can't have your utilities cut off," said Joanne Fletcher with Burbank Water and Power. "In one case it was an employee who got the phone call so the owner wasn't even there. They thought they were doing the right thing."
If you receive a similar call, you are urged to simply hang up and call police.