Beware of ‘utility imposters’: West Virginia American Water warns of potential scams

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—On Monday, West Virginia American Water warned customers about potential “utility imposters” after a reported theft by a man posing as a water company worker.

The utility company said that none of their employees will ever request or accept cash for service calls, and they should not need access to indoor facilities to read meters, turn service on or off or perform maintenance work. In fact, they aren’t typically allowed by the company to enter people’s homes.

These kinds of impersonation scams are popular because people tend to trust others in uniform. West Virginia American Water sent out the following recommendations should customers ever be approached by someone claiming to be a utility worker.

  • Always ask for a company-issued photo ID. West Virginia American Water employees carry company-issued photo ID badges and should not need access to indoor facilities to read meters, turn service on or off or perform maintenance work.
  • Look for the logo. All West Virginia American Water service personnel wear uniforms and drive company-branded vehicles with the company logo. At times, West Virginia American Water uses contracted services from other trusted companies, and those companies will have branded vehicles and identification as well.
  • Never give cash. Our employees and contractors never collect money or credit card information from customers in the field.
  • If you suspect someone may be a utility imposter, close and lock your door, and call 911. You can also call West Virginia American Water at 1-800-685-8660 to report the incident and confirm whether service work is scheduled in the area.

“We want our customers to feel secure when our employees visit their property, so there is no need to feel uneasy about making someone wait until you’re sure the person is a valid utility worker,” said West Virginia American President Robert Burton.  “West Virginia American Water employees care about our customers’ safety, and we don’t mind the wait. We believe it’s worth the peace of mind for our customers. Take the time to ensure that the utility representative at your door is a legitimate employee on official utility business.”

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