The Regional Water Authority (RWA) and AARP Fraud Watch Network are urging vigilance against scams during the holiday season and throughout the year. Scammers often pose as utility employees to obtain financial information or gain access to homes so they can steal money or property.
“The scammers make this their full-time job. Our best line of defense is to empower the public to share information, tell their stories to each other and help communities around the state protect their residents from these criminals,” said AARP CT State Director, Nora Duncan. “These predators do not discriminate. They target anyone of any age, but focus primarily on our most vulnerable populations. We launched the AARP Fraud Watch Network nationally and in states to offer tips and tools that help people stay ahead of the scammers. Information is offered on the ground by over 45 AARP Fraud Watch Network volunteers in Connecticut. They bring information to communities, providing the Con Artist Playbook conversation and online resources through our interactive site www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork. There you can see scams right in your own community, report those that you see and learn about ways to protect you and your loved ones no matter where they live.”
“The RWA takes steps to ensure that residents of the communities in our service area can easily verify the work we do in order to help protect themselves against scammers,” said RWA Police Captain Paul Ruggiero. “A common tactic of scammers is to pose as utility employees and warn of an imminent service termination unless you pay. When someone tells you there is no time to stop and think, it’s usually the best time to do so. If someone contacts you or a loved one and claims to be from the RWA, always ask for identification and don’t hesitate to call our office directly and ask for verification. Most importantly, never let someone in your home if you do not know them or they don’t prove their identity.”
If someone comes to the door claiming to be from the RWA or any other utility, they should be able to provide identification. All RWA personnel carry an employee photo identification card and wear clothing with the RWA logo. The RWA does not go to customer homes without an appointment demanding access, selling services or demanding payment. Never let any unknown individuals into your home without proper identification. If someone suspicious comes to your home without warning and demands access, shut the door and call 911.
The RWA is currently installing new, advanced water meters throughout the Greater New Haven region. These meters are installed by a contractor, Contract Callers, Inc. (CCI). All CCI installers wear blue uniforms with a CCI logo and carry two photo IDs: an RWA contractor badge and a CCI badge. CCI vehicles are white and have CCI and RWA logos. Customers can call the RWA at 203-562-4020 to verify that installers are working in their neighborhood. All installation activities are also registered with local police departments.
Scammers often contact customers via unsolicited phone calls, and may demand payment or financial information to avoid an immediate shutoff. Some of these sophisticated scammers may even be able to create a phony caller ID display to appear legitimate. Never make a payment or provide personal information to an unsolicited caller. Hang up the phone immediately and call the RWA at 203-562-4020 if a call seems suspicious. Additionally, do not reply to unsolicited text messages or click on links texted by someone claiming to be from your utility.
The internet has also become a common way for scammers to deceive customers into providing personal financial information. If a suspicious email claiming to be from the RWA or any other utility is received, it should be deleted right away. Never click on links, open attachments, download pictures or respond to the email. Contact the RWA if you have questions about any email purporting to be from them.
Anyone interested in having the AARP Fraud Watch Network hold a conversation in their town can contact Erica Michalowski at EMichalowski@aarp.org or 860-548-3163.
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