News

EPE urges residents to be cautious of a possible tree trimming scam

April 12, 2016

El Paso Electric (EPE) warns customers of scams involving individuals falsely representing EPE tree trimming contractors or employees.

 

EPE has started to receive calls from customers who claim they have been robbed by individuals impersonating EPE employees claiming to trim trees that are too close to power lines. In the instances reported, the residents did not call EPE to provide this service.  EPE is working with local law enforcement on these claims.

 

EPE contracts with Asplundh Co. to trim trees that are within 10 feet of power lines. Asplundh employees are required to wear easily identifiable apparel and will be in a vehicle with the Asplundh logo on its side.

 

If there is any question about the authenticity of anyone claiming to represent EPE or a contractor, they should contact EPE directly at (915) 543-5970.

 

Here are a few tips to avoid this scam:

  • Never give money to anyone you don’t know, no matter what kind of uniform they have on.
  • Never provide personal information (date-of-birth, banking information, ID numbers) to people you do not know.
  • Verify the individual has a logo on their uniform, work clothes and vehicle that you recognize. If in doubt, do not let them into your home or leave any doors unlocked.
  • Speak to people who come to your door through the screen if you are unsure what their business is, and check to make sure they represent a real and trustworthy outfit.
  • A reliable service provider is always happy to answer questions about their organization.
  • EPE and its contractors will always provide you with contact information you feel you need to verify the service, and they will wait. EPE’s tree trimming contractors will never ask to enter a home.

 

Here is the most commonly reported tactic:

  1. Someone rings the doorbell and claims that they are from a local utility, city, or from a local tree company.
  2. This person claims to be trimming trees in the area and has noticed that the tree in your backyard appears too close to a power line.
  3. They request that the customer come out to the back yard to supervise this operation, where one con artist distracts the resident by having them fill out a form or perform some task.
  4. While the resident is outside and distracted, another individual enters through another open door and searches the house, stealing cash, jewelry, and valuables.