Scammers pose at Water Utility employees
August 20, 2013
This morning, Madison Water Utility received an email from an outraged customer who said he'd been approached at his near west side property by two MWU employees. The men demanded immediate payment of a new water meter surcharge and even pulled a large tool out of their trunk and threatened to turn off his water on the spot if he didn't pay up. So he handed over $250 cash. Incredulous at the way he'd been treated, he fired off an angry email to the Water Utility.
And it's a good thing he did. The men are not employees of Madison Water Utility, and his case has been turned over to the Madison Police Department for investigation.
According to the victim, the men were driving a white, four-door sedan with some kind of official-looking City of Madison or Madison Water Utility lettering on the side. He also says they had some lettering or logo on their shirt lapels.
It's important to remember there is no charge to customers for the new Project H2O metering systems we are installing across Madison. Our employees always carry photo identification and drive Madison Water Utility vehicles. Our crews in the field never take money directly from customers. We only take payments online, by mail, or in person at our billing office or the City Treasurer's office.
If you are approached by anyone claiming to be with the Water Utility who is demanding money, contact the police immediately.
If you are unsure whether someone claiming to be with Madison Water Utility is an actual employee, feel free to call our offices at (608) 266-4665.
The employees in our billing office were paid a visit today by a customer carrying $998 in cash. He explained that someone claiming to be a Water Utility employee had phoned him hours earlier demanding the amount be paid in cash immediately or his water would be turned off. According to the person on the phone, the payment was a fee for the utility's new "GPS" water meter.
Instead of meeting the caller, he got the cash and drove to our Olin St. offices where he was told that he owed no money.
This type of scam has unfortunately been common in our area over the last few months, with callers posing as power or water utility employees. Please keep in mind that Madison Water Utility does not accept any payment over the phone. If you receive a suspicious phone call, report it to Madison Police immediately.
- Amy Barrilleaux, Water Utility PIO, (608) 266-9129