CHARLESTON, W.Va. (April 6, 2020) – West Virginia American Water issued a warning today for customers to guard themselves against utility imposters and scams during the current public health emergency. During this time, West Virginia American Water has suspended all water service shutoffs. If you receive a phone call requesting payment with the threat of a water service shutoff, please hang up immediately and call West Virginia American Water at 1-800-685-8660 to verify your account status. Additionally, West Virginia American Water employees should not need access to any indoor facilities to read meters, turn service on or off or perform maintenance work. Company employees also will never request nor accept cash during service calls to homes or businesses.
Pretending to be a trusted utility worker is a trick some criminals use to gain access to homes, obtain payments or steal personal information. Utilities often see spikes in these types of impersonations and scams when customers are most vulnerable. West Virginia American Water recommends taking the following precautions when approached or contacted by someone who says they are a utility worker:
- Always ask for a company-issued photo ID. West Virginia American Water employees carry company-issued photo ID badges and should not need access to indoor facilities to read meters, turn service on or off or perform maintenance work.
- Look for the logo. All West Virginia American Water service personnel wear uniforms and drive company-branded vehicles with the logo.
- Never give cash. Our employees never collect money or credit card information from customers in the field.
- If you suspect someone may be a utility imposter, close and lock your door, and call 911. You can also call West Virginia American Water at 1-800-685-8660 to report the incident and confirm whether service work is scheduled in the area.
- If you suspect you are receiving a phone call from someone attempting to scam you for payment, immediately hang up. Please call West Virginia American Water at 1-800-685-8660 to verify your account status.
“We want our customers to feel secure about their water and wastewater utilities during this challenging time,” said West Virginia American President Robert Burton. “West Virginia American Water employees care about our customers’ safety, and we don’t mind when customers ask our employees to verify who they say they are; however, we do ask that customers maintain a safe, social distance while doing so. Additionally, we strongly encourage our customers not to make any payments over the phone when contacted by someone threatening a water service shutoff at this time. We strongly encourage customers to contact us directly if they have questions about their account.”
West Virginia American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water services to approximately 550,000 people. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,100 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to more than 14 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. More information can be found at www.westvirginiaamwater.com.