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Utility scam targeting customers by using Janesville water billing number

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Posted at 2:58 PM, Aug 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-05 15:58:46-04

MADISON, Wis. (WISC) -- Several people in Janesville have reported receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be with the Janesville Water Department, but the city told TODAY'S TMJ4 sister station WISC-TV it’s a scam.
 
Janesville City Clerk-Treasurer David Godek said the city has had reports of utility scams in the past, but this time, scammers are somehow making the Janesville Utility Billing Office’s number show up on the caller ID.
 
“I don’t know why now and why here. It’s the first time in the nearly 10 years that I’ve been here that people have reported that these calls have come from the city of Janesville,” Godek said.
People reported that the scammers told them their water would be turned off unless they make a payment over the phone. Godek said no one has fallen victim to the scam yet, and the city issued a warning to make sure no one does.
 
“We don’t initiate those kind of phone calls,” he said. “We don’t accept payment over the phone under any circumstance, even if you were to call in to make a payment.”
 
Godek said the city will send customers notices in the mail about potentially disconnecting their service. He recommends hanging up the phone if someone receives a call and then reporting it to the city.
 
After hearing about the scams in Janesville, Harry Mathos, the director of water resources for Beloit, said he sent out a warning to his customers in case they receive similar calls.