The San Diego County Water Authority warned the public Thursday about a scam wherein impostors pose as water utility employees to gain entry to victim’s homes.
The warning comes after a string of reports involving scam artists who call local residents and offer to test their water for pollution or contamination.
The callers will claim to be from either a local water agency or the SDCWA and ask to enter resident’s home.
“Very rarely, if ever, will the SDCWA do that,” said Jason Foster, Director of Public Outreach and Conservation at the SDCWA. “If we needed to enter a resident’s home it wouldn’t be without specific, advanced notice.”
It's presumed that the impostors seek entry to homes in order to commit theft or fraud.
SDCWA and its member agencies are not responsible for fixing problems or testing inside private residences, officials said.
Furthermore, if a home owner did want someone from SDCWA or a member agency to come to their home, they would have to call the agency and make an appointment first.
According to SDCWA officials, the scam can take on many forms.
In some cases residents are asked for credit card information in order to pay a bill or a caller will demand that the home owner buy specific water treatment products. In other cases, callers give sales pitches for water line insurance.
The scam artists are also known to go door-to-door.
“Unfortunately these kinds of scams are common,” Foster said. “We don’t know if it’s a group of people or several individuals with the same idea.”
Officials say the best way to avoid being scammed is to check the number of the person claiming to be from a water agency with SDCWA. Also, legitimate water agency employees will have identification and can provide their supervisor’s phone number to verify who they are.
Anyone who refuses to wait while the agency is being contacted should be considered a fraud and should be reported to either the SDCWA or the San Diego police.
Residents can also verify information at the SDCWA’s website.