Monday, November 7, 2016

They SAY they’re from the Water Authority…but are they?

Somebody knocks on your door claiming to represent the water company. How can you tell an impersonator from the real thing? We’ve put together some information to help you keep safe.

1.      Do not open your door.

Meters are read electronically. Anybody who identifies him or herself as a “meter reader” is automatically suspect. Even in the event of a water main breakage or other emergency, repair work is conducted outdoors. There is no reason anybody from ACSA needs to enter your home.

      2.      Don’t let the props fool you.

Anybody can buy a uniform on the Internet and create a bogus photo ID. Imposters may even have a hand held radio and point to a vehicle made to look like a utility truck. If you are at all unsure about who is knocking, you can simply choose not to open your door. Call ACSA immediately if you have questions or doubts about the identity of a person claiming to be an ACSA representative.

3.      Never pay money to “settle a bill” or to avoid having your water turned off.

Under no circumstances will any utility (or most businesses) demand cash payment in person.  Impersonators have been known to produce fake computer printouts showing supposed usage and unpaid balances. Asking for money for services or claiming that your water will be turned off without immediate payment are clear signs of a scam. If you are in any doubt about the status of your account, contact ACSA directly.

4.      Clean up your paper trail.

Your trash is a scammer’s treasure. Once you have paid a bill, file it away safely or shred or otherwise destroy it. Criminals can use information they find on discarded bills and other personal papers to convince you that they know details about your account…or, worse still, to steal your identity.  Viewing your bill online and setting up auto pay from your bank account are safe ways to minimize this risk.

5.      Immediately report your experience to ACSA and the police.

Scammers generally prey on the elderly, the homebound, or people living alone—but anybody can be taken in! Many victims of scams are embarrassed to admit that they have been fooled. Your experience can become a warning to others. By reporting suspicious activity, you provide police and ACSA with vital information that may prevent others from being similarly victimized.