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Scammers posing as utility workers invade Milwaukee homes

Scammers posing as City of Milwaukee utility workers are talking their way into people's homes.  That warning came Wednesday, Novermber 13 from the Department of Public Works.  DPW says it happened twice on the south side of Milwaukee on Wednesday.  Their advice to the public: if you aren't sure, do not let a utility worker in your house.   

Here is the full text of the warning from Sandra Rusch Walton, Department of Public Works Communications Manager:

Public Warned about Utility Imposters

Milwaukee area residents should be mindful of persons who try to gain access to their homes by posing as utility employees.

Two incidents were reported Wednesday on Milwaukee’s south side. A man claiming to be a water utility employee talked his way into a woman’s home on South 14th Street, saying he needed to check the water meter. He said he had worked for the utility for so long he didn’t have a utility identification badge. While he was in her basement, a second man rang her doorbell and entered the home. He also claimed he was a water utility employee who was there to give her a $50.00 rebate for being a senior citizen. He said he would give her the cash if she could give him change for a $100.00 bill. The woman told him she had no money in the house, and both men walked out. The woman called the Milwaukee Water Works where a supervisor confirmed all utility employees carry a photo ID, and the utility does not offer rebates. She also was advised to immediately call the Milwaukee Police Department.

A second woman, who lives on South 34th Street, was approached by two men but she did not allow them into her house. She asked for identification and they told her they had left their ID badges in the truck. They also offered to replace her water meter for a $50 fee. The utility replaces water meters at no charge to customers.

Protect yourself and your family from scam artists who pose as utility employees:

• Do not open your door to someone you do not recognize. Do not allow anyone to enter your home if you are not sure of any person’s identity.

• Ask to see photo identification (I.D.) through a window. Milwaukee Water Works and other utility employees and contractors carry photo identification. Legitimate employees will be happy to show you their I.D. if you ask, or call the utility to verify identification.

• Call the Milwaukee Water Works Customer Service Center, (414) 286-2830, if you are unsure about a person’s identification or to verify work to be done at your home. Call the police if you believe the person is an imposter.

• Do not allow anyone to enter your home claiming to collect a past-due bill, inspect plumbing fixtures, or to sell utility products such as a meter or other equipment. Milwaukee Water Works employees do not engage in door-to-door sales, do not collect a past-due bill in person, and do not deliver rebates or refunds.

• The Milwaukee Water Works does not solicit water testing from customers.

• Advise your elderly loved ones, friends, and children about what to do if strangers approach their home and ask to come in.

• Milwaukee Water Works employees on duty drive marked City of Milwaukee vehicles.

If a property owner calls the Milwaukee Water Works Customer Service Center and asks for an investigation into high water use or other water service-related issue, the Milwaukee Water Works may send an employee to a residence or business. The utility also may send an employee to investigate high water use or a possible meter issue, or to replace a meter, without a customer-initiated service request. Again, these employees will readily show identification. You may contact the utility to confirm we are cold-calling in your service area.

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