Plano police are warning residents of a series of scam phone calls regarding overdue water bills in the area. According to reports, criminals are targeting homeowners by phone, demanding payment for excessively high past-due water bills that the victim does not owe.
According to the police, many residents are reporting that a caller contacted them claiming to be from the city’s water department. In one case, the caller claimed that there was an overdue $700 water bill that must be paid over the phone using a credit or debit card immediately. Because the recipient of the call used the automatic billing system provided by the city, they were suspicious and did not provide any financial information to the caller. However, police and city officials are concerned that someone may become the victim of a crime by providing that information, believing they are speaking to an employee at the city.
Recognizing a Scam
This is just one type of scam perpetuated by criminals in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metropolitan area. In order to protect yourself, these tips can help you recognize when you may be the target of a criminal:
- The caller refuses to provide a mailing address or location to make payment. The City of Plano never requires a past due payment to be paid only using a credit or debit card on the phone. Payments may be made by mail or in person.
- The caller exerts pressure on you to force you to pay, such as threatening to disconnect services immediately or submit your name to law enforcement.
- The caller continually demands that you provide sensitive information, such as credit card numbers or social security numbers.
What to Do If You Receive a Call?
If you do receive a call claiming to be from the Plano water department demanding payment, note the phone number of the call if you have Caller ID. Tell the caller that you will need to review your records and ask if there is a number where you can call them back. In most cases, they will not provide the number or will demand that payment be made immediately. If they do provide a call-back number, contact the City of Plano to confirm whether the number belongs to them. The city says that they do not demand payment over the phone when water bills are past due, but by calling the city, you will be able to report the suspicious call. You may also want to reach out to the police department with any numbers or names you obtain from the caller.
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