SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento business owner said he almost fell victim to what he called a smooth scam. He runs a golf shop and called the guys who tried to rip him off “villains.”

Hal Dasinger said a caller claimed the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) had an issue processing recent payments, and to avoid losing power, he had to send in an overdue deposit of $2,600.

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SMUD suggested he quick-pay through his online bank account using Zelle. They told him not to worry: If it’s a mistake, he’d get a refund.

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“One of the things that really got me was I’ve talked to a lot of online phone scammers trying to get me to do one thing or another, and when you start to push back, usually they get abusive.,” Dasinger said. “These guys were as cool as the other side of the pillow. They were super professional.”

SMUD said they will never demand cash, wire, or money card payments. If in doubt, call the number on your bill to see if it’s a scam.

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SMUD released some advice for customers:

  • SMUD urges customers to be on the lookout for scammers claiming to represent SMUD and threatening disconnection if immediate payments are not made.
  • SMUD representatives will never call a customer and direct them to a non-SMUD payment facility or require a specific method of payment such as cash, wire payment or money card.
  • To avoid scams, customers can monitor their SMUD account activity on a regular basis.
  • SMUD will never ask for personal information, such as passwords
  • Use only the customer service numbers listed on our web page
  • A list of authorized SMUD pay stations can be viewed by visiting smud.org/Pay.
  • If customers receive a suspicious call, SMUD asks them to ask for a name and number, then hang up and call SMUD. Residential customers: 1-888-742-SMUD (7683); Business customers: 1-877-622-SMUD (7683)
  • Customers can also email SMUD at scamreporting@smud.org with the same information.
  • To learn more about how to protect yourself from fraud, visit smud.org/Scam.