A recent fire took out two houses in an east El Paso neighborhood because of a dead tree that fell over in high winds and took down power lines. The El Paso Electric Company says they are now hearing from customers who have been robbed by people claiming to be EPE employees who say they are there to trim trees that are too close to power lines.

Asplundh Co. is the contractor that EPE uses to trim trees that are within 10 feet of power lines. They wear uniforms and drive vehicles with the company logo. If someone comes to your home claiming to work with either El Paso Electric or Asplundh Co., and you want to make sure they are actually employees of those companies, you can call EPE directly at (915) 543-5970.

You can also keep yourself from falling for the scammers by not giving money to anyone who comes to your home, no matter what uniform they have on. Do not give out your personal information, date-of-birth, or banking information. Don’t let anyone into your home, and stay inside and keep your doors locked until you can verify that the people at your door actually work for Asplundh or EPE.

EPE says their tree trimming contractors will never ask to enter a home.

People who have fallen for the scam say that someone rang their doorbell, said they were from a local utility company, the City of El Paso, or a local tree company, and they saw that a tree in the backyard of the home is too close to a power line. They ask the resident to step into the back yard to supervise them while they trim the tree. While the resident is outside and distracted, another person gets into the home through the open door and steals cash, jewelry, and other valuables.

No matter what, the best course of action is to keep your door locked, and call El Paso Electric and verify that they sent someone to your house.