THE LOCAL NORM: HOW THEY’D LIKE TO SPEND YOUR SUMMER VACATIONBy Norm de Ploom
Long Beach residents were recently warned that people reportedly posing as utility workers —a scam commonly used to set up robberies—might actually be elected city officials targeting residents for political abuse.
“They often work in groups of five or more,” said a task force spokesman. “If they’re dressed in Edison uniforms, that means the mayor’s with them.”
Typically, the scammers pose as public servants and go door to door asking residents about their plans to be out of town this summer, explaining that the information will be used to schedule critical infrastructure maintenance and repair—and maybe a little code enforcement—so as to inconvenience as few people as possible.
“I understand there was an outbreak of this down in the Shore last December,” said a task force official. “A councilman who often poses as a telephone guy attempted to push through the Second+PCH development scam right before Christmas.”
Public safety officers are advising residents to be on the lookout for utility workers who question them about vacation schedules, but then follow up by asking if anyone in the household has ever noticed when local politicians vote in favor of unprecedented zoning changes to benefit prospective campaign contributors.
“That’s how you’ll know you’re dealing with a scammer—because genuine public servants will never work to destroy the quality of life in a community,” said a task force advocate. “And sending them to Washington doesn’t make it any better, so don’t try that to get rid of them.”