How can I protect myself against utility scams?

Scam alertWashington Water occasionally receives reports that scammers pretending to represent Washington Water are targeting customers by phone, by email, or in person. The information below will help you identify and avoid some common scams.

Phone Scams

Scammers may target customers by phone and demand that they make an immediate payment to avoid their service being shut off. These calls are an attempt to defraud by either obtaining credit card information or arranging for a fraudulent payment to be made. Washington Water does not call our customers and demand payment by phone, bank transfer, or other specific payment method.

If you receive a call that sounds suspicious or is about an unpaid bill that you do not believe you owe, hang up the phone and call us at (877) 408-4060.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind if you receive a questionable call:

  • Scammers can “spoof” a company phone number, meaning that your phone’s caller ID may show that the call is coming from “Washington Water” or “Washington Water Service,” even if it is not.
  • Some scammers use automated voice-response systems similar to those used by legitimate pay-by-phone services.
  • Washington Water will never ask you to pay your bill using gift cards, pre-paid credit cards, or money transfers.
  • Washington Water never shuts off water service for non-payment outside of normal business hours. A delinquent account’s service will not be shut off during the night nor on a weekend.
  • If a suspicious automated call asks you to push buttons on your phone for any reason (even to stop future calls), just hang up the phone. Pushing a button on your phone lets the automated system know it reached a live person.
  • If you have received a scam call, write down the phone number it came from and contact us immediately so that Washington Water is aware of the situation. The Federal Trade Commission and FCC also have online forms for reporting these types of scams.

Email Scams

Scammers may target customers by email and demand that they make an immediate payment to avoid their service being shut off. These emails are an attempt to obtain credit card information, arrange for a fraudulent payment to be made, or trick the customer into visiting a malicious web site that may infect their computer with a virus or other malicious code. Washington Water does not email our customers and demand payment by a specific payment method.

Scammers may also send emails that appear to be from a utility company, but contain an attachment that will attempt to install malicious code on your computer if opened.

If you receive an email that seems suspicious, has an unexpected attachment, or is about an unpaid bill that you do not believe you owe, do not reply to the email, click any links in it, nor open any attachments. Instead, call us at (877) 408-4060.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind if you receive a suspicious email:

  • Scammers can use a fake email address, meaning that a fraudulent email may appear to come from Washington Water, even if it does not.
  • Washington Water will never ask you to pay your bill using gift cards, pre-paid credit cards, or money transfers.
  • Washington Water will never send you an email with an attachment unless you have requested one.
  • Washington Water will never ask you to make an online payment on any web site other than the site linked to on the wawater.com home page.
  • Washington Water never shuts off water service for non-payment outside of normal business hours. A delinquent account’s service will not be shut off during the night nor on a weekend.
  • If you have received a scam email, contact us immediately so that Washington Water is aware of the situation. We may ask you to forward the email to us so that we can investigate it further.

In-Person Scams

Scammers may pretend to be Washington Water employees and visit your home or business in an attempt to obtain credit card information, arrange for a fraudulent payment to be made, convince you to pay for an unneeded service, or gain access to your premises. Washington Water will never ask you to make payment to a specific person or at a specific location, and our employees will not visit your home to collect payment.

Remain vigilant if you are approached by someone seeking payment for your water bill or asking to inspect your water system. If you are ever unsure about someone claiming to be a Washington Water employee, please do not to let him or her into your home, arrange any kind of payment, or provide banking information. Instead, call us at (877) 408-4060 for verification.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind if you are approached by someone who claims to work for Washington Water:

  • All Washington Water employees carry identification with their photo, name, and the Washington Water logo.
  • All Washington Water trucks have the Washington Water logo on the door.
  • Washington Water will never ask you to pay your bill using gift cards, pre-paid credit cards, or money transfers.
  • Washington Water will never visit your home and ask you to pay your bill using cash or a check.
  • Washington Water employees will never visit your home to request access to test your water or check your pipes without making a prior arrangement.
  • Washington Water never shuts off water service for non-payment outside of normal business hours. A delinquent account’s service will not be shut off during the night nor on a weekend.
  • If you are approached by a questionable person claiming to work for Washington Water, call us at (877) 408-4060 immediately so that Washington Water is aware of the situation.

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