“We pride ourselves on great customer service, so it’s tough to hear about scams like this,” said Pam Williams, customer care supervisor. “The incidents serve as a good reminder for our customers to keep up their guard.”
Water, electric and gas utility worker scams across the country involve everything from imposters asking to check pipes or gas lines, collecting money for bills or even testing for water quality.
Local reports include a Denver7 story about an elderly woman who said a man posed as a water worker and needed to check for lead in the water. While the woman talked to the imposter in her kitchen, an accomplice snuck inside and stole her jewelry.
Williams cautions homeowners to be wary of anyone who knocks on the door and offers lead testing. “We offer free lead testing for our customers, but we mail the kits so homeowners can collect the water samples themselves,” Williams said. “We don’t send employees out for this service.”
Denver Water employees typically only visit homes to alert residents of an emergency like a water main break or a major construction project that will impact their street.
It is rare for employees to actually go inside a home, but if they do, the resident typically called Denver Water to initiate or schedule service.
Another red flag? Requests for cash. “We never send anyone to your home to collect money,” Williams said. “If someone says they are from Denver Water and asks for cash, they are an imposter.”
One of the best ways to identify a Denver Water employee is to look for a white vehicle, clearly marked with the blue Denver Water logo, according to Melissa Hollenbaugh, Denver Water’s security supervisor.
She recommends checking for the Denver Water logo on clothing and hats, and always asking to see an employee identification card.
“If someone says they’re from Denver Water and they look suspicious or you feel threatened, don’t let them in and call 9-1-1 right away,” Hollenbaugh said.
Homeowners also can contact Denver Water Customer Care at 303-893-2444 to verify if an employee has been dispatched to their home. Additional information is provided by the Denver Police Department and the Denver District Attorney’s Office.
“Vigilance is the best way to protect yourself,” Hollenbaugh said. “Be smart, be alert, and never let anyone inside your home who you don’t trust.”