How to spot a scam or a fake water worker
From Florida to Missouri, New York to California and right here in Denver, thieves have frequently posed as utility workers to take advantage of homeowners.
“We pride ourselves on great customer service, so it’s tough to hear about scams like this,” said Pam Williams, former customer care supervisor and now a member of Denver Water's lead reduction team. “These incidents serve as a good reminder for our customers to keep up their guard.”
Recently, Denver Water identified another type of threat — the potential for a phishing scam targeting customers.
People could receive an email that looks like it is from Denver Water, asking them to click on a link that takes users to what appears to be Denver Water’s website. But the site is a fake intended to collect payment or personal information.
Denver Water will never send an email asking customers to provide any type of payment or personal information.
Online payments should be done by going directly to Denver Water’s online payment interface, accessible from Denver Water’s website: denverwater.org.
We will only send links for informational purposes like water use reports or water efficiency tips.
But it's not just online scams. Water, electric and gas utility worker scams across the country involve everything from imposters asking to check pipes or gas lines, collecting money for bills or even testing for water quality.
Williams cautions homeowners to be wary of anyone who knocks on the door and offers lead testing. “We offer free lead testing for our customers, but we mail the kits so homeowners can collect the water samples themselves,” Williams said. “We don’t send employees out for this service.”
Denver Water employees typically only visit homes to alert residents of an emergency like a water main break or a major construction project that will impact their street.
It is rare for employees to actually go inside a home, but if they do, the resident typically called Denver Water to initiate or schedule service.
Another red flag? Requests for cash. “We never send anyone to your home to collect money,” Williams said. “If someone says they are from Denver Water and asks for cash, they are an imposter.”
One of the best ways to identify a Denver Water employee is to look for a white vehicle, clearly marked with the blue Denver Water logo, according to Melissa Hollenbaugh, Denver Water’s security supervisor.
She recommends checking for the Denver Water logo on clothing and hats, and always asking to see an employee identification card.
“If someone says they’re from Denver Water and they look suspicious or you feel threatened, don’t let them in and call 9-1-1 right away,” Hollenbaugh said.
Homeowners also can contact Denver Water Customer Care at 303-893-2444 to verify if an employee has been dispatched to their home. Additional information is provided by the Denver Police Department and the Denver District Attorney's Office.
“Vigilance is the best way to protect yourself,” Hollenbaugh said. “Be smart, be alert, and never let anyone inside your home who you don’t trust.”