Water bill latest phone scam

Isn’t it awful to have to be so careful when you answer your phone? But you must be, because the world is full of scammers, and if you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile – and your bank account.

Most folks have heard of some of the scams – the “yes” scam, the grandparent scam, the IRS scam – but we’ve recently heard of a new one: The water bill scam.

If you’re on a public water system like a few of the towns around here, be careful. Here’s how it works:

CALLER: Is this Doris Smith?

DORIS: Yes.

Uh-oh, first mistake. That could be the “yes” scam during which the caller records your “yes,” and somehow uses it to order stuff online. So if you get a question like that from an unknown caller and you feel you must say something, try, “Who is this?”

Now back to Doris.

CALLER: This is the (insert town) Water Department, and we want you to know that your water payment is delinquent.

DORIS: It is?

CALLER: Yes. We need you to give us your credit card number right away or we’re going to shut off your water.

Now, here is what Doris should do: Ask for a phone number, although it’s probably going to be fake. Hang up, and call the local water department and ask if her payment is overdue. It won’t be.

Here’s what Doris must never do: Give out her credit card number to a stranger.

This is just the newest scam, but the scammers wouldn’t be pulling this stuff if people didn’t fall for it.

The cruelest is the grandparent scam in which a caller pretends to be someone’s grandchild in trouble, and the grandparent must send money right away or the grandchild will rot in the clink.

People fall for this. How scammers get this information is beyond us, but they do.

Just be wary.

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