City of Hillsboro warns residents of water department scam calls

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The City of Hillsboro Water Department is warning residents about scammers posing as the department and demanding money, the city announced Wednesday.

Officials said scammers are posing as drinking water or utility billing officials in phone calls to landlines and cell phones in an attempt to collect or extort money.

The scam calls appear to come from Hillsboro Water’s administrative phone line at 503-615-6702. However, the city says the department has not initiated these calls.

The city warns there are several signs a call is a scam, including the caller demanding that a city utility bill or late fee be paid without giving the customer a chance to question or appeal the amount, and customers being told they have won a prize or sweepstakes and need to take step to claim the prize, such as sending money for taxes and insurance.

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Scammers may also ask for social security numbers, bank account information, credit card numbers, or other personal or financial information, officials said — noting some scammers use scare tactics such as claiming the customer’s loved one is in danger, or they may be arrested if the customer does not take action.

Those who receive these calls are asked to report them to the Federal Trade Commission website or online through the Federal Bureau of Investigation for law enforcement action.

To protect yourself, officials say to never trust the caller ID number, which can be manipulated with software, and to consider sending unsolicited phone calls to voicemail. The city also warns against clicking on links in unsolicited emails or text messages, which can take you to a fake website or malicious software.

The city says Hillsboro’s drinking water remains safe to drink and use.

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