City of Tampa Utilities is issuing a Consumer Alert after a customer reported being targeted by a man impersonating a Water Department employee. The imposter reportedly knocked on the customer's door and threatened to shut off water service unless he received payment immediately. The customer did not pay, and the imposter left.
The Water Department reminds customers that all notices, including notices for overdue balances and shutoff notices, are sent in writing through the mail or via email for e-bill customers. Customers may also be contacted about overdue payments by phone. A full list of authorized payment methods appears on the back of the utility bill.
“We've seen different types of scams pop up over the years, preying on people's fears,” said Eli Franco, Water Operations Director. “We want residents to know that we do not send City employees to knock on people's doors to perform collection activities. We also remind residents that they can always contact our office directly to confirm that they are speaking with a City employee.”
Water Department employees are required to show proper identification and operate vehicles that display the City logo and other official markings. Any contractors working on behalf of the department are also required to display identifying credentials.
Furthermore, the department primarily works on public streets, right of ways, and roads that do not typically require entry onto private property. If Water Department employees must enter a customer's property, they will always request permission first.
Additionally, Water Department officials urge customers to call the City of Tampa Utilities directly at (813) 274-8811 to report similar incidents or verify their account status.
Anyone who believes they have fallen victim to this scam should contact the Tampa Police Department by calling (813) 231-6130.