“You’ll be the first one I sue for violation of the fricken clean water act,” said a scammer on a voicemail sent to Chandi Group USA, a company that owns many Arco’s and AMPMs in the Coachella Valley.
“I don’t know what kind of crap you’re doing lady but don’t ever call my office like that again. The first time you violate the law I swear to God I follow set a lawsuit against you,” said the scammer on the voicemail who only left the name Brian.
Employees with Chandi Group USA have been receiving bogus $81 invoices for future sewer monitoring and leak detection for years.
“One of our associates realized that this is a repetitive yearly thing that we get and we’ve gone through this before. That’s when we understood this is not a legitimate invoice, that it’s a scam,” says Eileen Salazar, a personal assistant with Chandi Group USA.
A company that calls itself Network Sewer Monitoring System (NPS), which uses a post office box in Tustin, CA, is sending out notices to food service businesses throughout Southern California, requiring them to complete an enclosed “activation form’ while billing them $81 for “1 year lateral sewer monitoring and leak detection”.
Officials said there’s some additional technical jargon meant to mislead the business into believing the information is legitimate.
The false mandate has been titled ‘July 1, 2009 Grease/Solvent Waste Management Initiative’, with NPS claiming its $680 device has to be installed at any business selling food products.
“We called them back to verify who they spoke to, that way we could contact our management team and verify so we can place payment with this. When we called them they were very vague and didn’t have any information available. They told us to call back, it was very sketchy. It had scam written all over it,” said Salazar.
KESQ and CBS Local 2 called NPS and a man on the phone told us this, “I’ve worked here 11 years. It never happened, the attorney Mike Michaels will be happy to call you back.”
If your business is contacted by NPS, or other companies making similar claims, never give out any personal or business-related information, send money or grant permission to install any equipment on adjacent sewer lines, officials said in the release.
If you think you’ve been contacted by this scam artist, or any others, you should retain the billing information or any additional paperwork you receive, and then call police or the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
If you have questions about applicable regulations associated with sewage removal, you can always call the Coachella Valley Water District at (760) 398-2651.