At least two area residents and businesses have received telephone calls in the last week from individuals purporting to work for the Texarkana Water Utilities, according to a press release from Texarkana, Texas Police Department.
The callers demand immediate payment in the form of some type of prepaid money gram for past due accounts to avoid disconnection of their water service. To further persuade the victim of the legitimacy of the call, the scammers have managed to “spoof” the TWU phone number so that it appears on the victim’s Caller ID.
CeCe White, TWU Customer Service Manager, said “We do not turn water off for non-payment during evening hours, nor do we call customers one at a time about disconnect payment. If you receive any phone call like this requesting that you pay a utility bill by putting money on a pre-paid debit card – please contact TWU directly to get your questions answered. TWU can be contacted by calling 903-798-3800 Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM, or by calling 903-798-3850 after 5 PM and on weekends. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
According to Detective Brian Purcell, “You should immediately be suspicious of any calls you receive demanding immediate payment. Even calls from business with which you are familiar and may owe money should be carefully scrutinized to be sure that you really know who you are dealing with. A good practice is to never divulge any personal information and tell the caller that you prefer to handle such things in person and will go to the office to take care of it. That usually puts a pretty quick end to the conversation.”
Anyone who believes they may have been the victim of this scam can file a report with the Texarkana Texas Police Department at 903-798-3116.