City of Tampa Utilities is warning residents about a phone scam where imposters are telling customers they will have their water service shut off if they do not pay their bill immediately. Several utility customers have received threatening phone calls in recent days from someone posing as a City employee. The City will be issuing warnings about this scam to residents on social media sites, including Nextdoor.
“We’ve seen different types of scams pop up over the years, preying on people’s fears,” said Eli Franco, Water Distribution & Consumer Services Manager. “We want residents to know that we do not send City employees to knock on people’s doors to perform collection activities. While our authorized representatives call residents for a variety of reasons, if a resident becomes concerned, they can contact our office directly to confirm that they are speaking with a City employee.”
All notices, including notices for overdue balances and shutoff notices, are sent in writing through the mail or via email for e-bill customers. Additionally, customers have several payment options including paying online as well as in person. A full list of authorized payment methods appears on the back of the utility bill. Below are actions residents can take if they receive a suspicious call:
- Hang up the phone.
- Do not give the caller any personal information.
- Call the City of Tampa Utilities directly at (813) 274-8811 to report the incident and verify your account status.
- Even if the caller insists you have a past due bill or your services will be shut off, never give banking information over the phone unless you have verified that you are speaking with an authorized representative.
- Tell your friends and loved ones about the scam so they can protect themselves. If you got this scam call, others in your community probably did too.
Additionally, all Water Department employees performing work are in uniforms displaying proper identification and operate City vehicles with the City logo and other official markings clearly visible.
Water Department employees primarily conduct work on public streets, right of ways and roads that do not typically require entry onto private property.
Contractors doing work on behalf of the department display different uniforms and identification credentials. To verify that that the Water Department or authorized contractor is doing work in your neighborhood, call us at (813) 274-8811.