September 30, 2013 (San Diego) – The San Diego County Water Authority is warning residents to watch out or scam artists posing as fake water agency employees. Recently, imposters have been calling local residents and offering to test their water for pollution or contamination – but they’re likely seeking opportunities for theft or fraud.
The Water Authority and its member agencies are not responsible for fixing problems or testing inside private residences and rarely have reason to ask for entry. If a water agency were to need in-home contact, someone would call first to make an appointment. If anyone claiming to be a water utility employee comes to your home without an appointment, refuse them entry and contact your local water agency.
Legitimate water agency employees will have proper identification and will provide a supervisor’s phone number at the agency for verification. They typically drive clearly marked agency vehicles with government license plates.
Homeowners should check any phone number provided for verification with the number for their water agency on their water bill or in the phone book to make sure it is legitimate. Any supposed water agency employee who refuses to wait while the agency is contacted should be considered a fraud and reported to police.
Utility scams can take many forms, including requests for bill payment with a credit card, demands that residents buy certain water treatment products such as filters or water softeners, and sales pitches for water line insurance. In some cases, imposters go door-to-door. In others, they work by phone. Imposters may work in pairs, with one person talking to the resident while the other cases the home for valuables. Don’t be fooled by scamsters who demand that you pay a water bill with a credit card or face shut off—and never give out your Social Security number or other ID.
If you’re not sure which water agency serves your property, you can go to sdcwa.org and enter their address under “find your water district.”