You receive a phone call or an in-person visitor claiming
to be an employee of a utilities company. The
'employee' offers to discount your bill with the company or
some other related service for an upfront fee.
You receive a visitor who claims to be an employee of a
utility company or member of law enforcement. The
visitor asks to come inside to perform some type of task,
and you notice things missing after his/her departure.
You receive a telephone call or a visit at your home from
a person who claims to be a utility employee (such as Duke
Energy, Greater Cincinnati Water Works or Metropolitan Sewer
District) and need to make an appointment to check
or read your meter. The 'employee' behaves as
though he/she is in a hurry and annoyed that you are asking
verifying questions prior to allowing access to the home.
You find a fraudulent utility charge made to your
You receive a visitor in person or telephone call of a
water softener company claiming they have heard from the
local utility that you have hard water and you may
need to purchase a water softener system.
HOW CAN CONSUMERS PROTECT THEMSELVES?
No reputable employee would offer to pay or discount your
bill for a fee. Be extremely cautious and do not hand over
any money until you verify with the company that they are
actually an employee and are authorized to perform the
service they are offering.
Do not share personal information with strangers unless
you're absolutely sure they can be trusted. A door-to-door
visitor is often attempting to steal material items or
personal information. Do not open the door for anyone
without verifying that they are, in fact, an employee or a
member of law enforcement.
Do not allow anyone into the home. To verify that the
person is a Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) employee
or contractor, call 513-591-7700 (24 hour number). To verify
that the person is a Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD)
employee or contractor, call 513-352-4900 (24 hour number).
Always ask for employment verification (proper photo
identification) prior to allowing them into the home. All
GCWW employees will wear a uniform with patches on their
hats and sleeves that read "Cincinnati Water Works" and have
photo identification. All MSD employees will wear a uniform
with patches on their hats and sleeves that clearly identify
them as MSD employees. Contractors will also have photo
The employee or contractor will not be in a hurry and will
allow time for verification from the utility office that
they claim to work for.
Generally the utility will not send an employee to gain
access into the home without prior notice. It is common for
the utility to send a letter or hang a tag on the door
notifying the occupant of the need to gain access to the
The utilities are generally working outside and will not
make unannounced or unscheduled site visits to the homes.
Access to turn off the water can be gained from the valve
located at the curb.
Closely guard your credit card and review charges monthly
to avoid possible fraud.
HOW TO REPORT IF YOU'VE BEEN A VICTIM
Local Utility Office: If you think you've
handed over money to an imposter or allowed access to your
home, immediately call the company they falsely represented.
Duke Energy, 1-800-777-9898
Greater Cincinnati Water Works, 513-591-7700
Metropolitan Sewer District, 513-352-4900
Ohio Attorney General's office: If you
think you've handed over money to a fake employee, you
should contact the Ohio Attorney General's office
(800-282-0515) to report the theft.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Monitor
your credit card and bank statements, your credit report and
any other financial transactions, and immediately contact
the FTC (1-877-IDTHEFT) if you think your identity has been
Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3):
You may also contact the IC3 at
www.ic3.gov. The IC3 is a partnership between the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White
Collar Crime Center. Complaints submitted to the IC3 cover
an array of cyber crime and fraud schemes to include
For more information on identity theft, visit these
Copyright 2011. Hamilton County Ohio. 138 E. Court Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202.
Information on this site is for informational purposes only and is believed to be true and accurate. This information should not be considered as legal advice and Hamilton County disclaims any liability for errors or omissions. External links to other sites are intended to supplement information on this website and do not have the endorsement of Hamilton County.