Connecticut Water is reminding residents not to fall prey to scammers during the busy holiday season.
The utility says some take advantage of the hectic season and that the stress of the pandemic could make things worse.
There are two key types of utility scams to look out for, the company said. Scammers posing as utility workers to try to enter your home, and scammers demanding payment to stop a utility shutoff, usually in the form of a prepaid card or other untraceable payment.
Connecticut Water employees will always carry photo identification and travel in marked company vehicles. Customers are encouraged to call the company to verify workers are legitimate if they have any concerns. Other utilities have similar policies.
“Customers have every right to verify that a person who knocks on their door claiming to be from a utility is really a utility employee. If the person at the door refuses to show a photo ID or to wait for their identity to be verified, customers should not let the person in the home. Customers can also notify local authorities to help protect their neighbors," said Arthur J. O’Neill, vice president of customer service at Connecticut Water.
Connecticut Water also noted that they will never collect money in the field or ask customers to pay their bill through a prepaid card. Customers who are behind on their bills can look into enrolling in a COVID-19 Payment Program. Enrollment is open through February 9, 2021.
If you suspect you are a victim of a utility scam or an attempted scam, you can report it to the company and local law enforcement.
TIPS FROM CONNECTICUT WATER
- If you are uncomfortable or suspicious about
someone who claims to be from the water company,
DO NOT allow them into your home.
- Connecticut Water employees will not ask for or
accept any form of payment or issue any monetary
credit at a customer’s home.
- We will accept payments over the phone if you call
us, but we will not call and ask you to transfer money
to a Green Dot or similar prepaid card.
- Company employees carry photo IDs and drive
vehicles marked with the Company logo. Legitimate
employees are happy to show their ID if you ask.
- Visits to customers’ homes by the water company
are scheduled in advance except in an emergency.
- Our employees do not enter customers’ homes to
collect past due bills; or sell utility products such as
meters and do not deliver rebates or refunds. We
do not solicit water testing services for customers.
- If someone representing themselves as a water utility
employee arrives without an appointment, or you
are not certain if they are with the water company,
do not allow them to enter your home – first call
Connecticut Water’s 24 hour customer service at
1.800.286.5700 to verify their identify;
- Report any suspicious activity to your local police.