Scammers threaten shutoff to get money

generic water faucet

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – A utilities scam reported in other states has made its way to Grand Rapids.

The City of Grand Rapids said it got a phone call Wednesday from a resident who gave money to scammers after being told their water was going to be shut off.

The victim got a phone call from a person claiming to be a city worker. In order to prevent a shutoff, the caller said, the customer needed to go to Walgreens to purchase a prepaid VISA or Green Dot card to make a payment over the phone.

The City of Grand Rapids says its Utilities or Public Services staff never call customers and demand they make a payment to prevent a service cutoff, a Wednesday release said.  The city advises utilities customers not to respond to similar calls.

This type of scam has been reported in other states and communities throughout Michigan, the city said. The scam usually involves thieves who threaten disconnection of services unless an immediate payment is made using a prepaid card, according to the release.

If you think you have been a victim of a scam, please contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office to file a complaint online.

People who think they have been scammed should also contact the city at 616.456.3020.

Legitimate Grand Rapids water and sewer payments can be submitted by mail, online, or in person at 300 Monroe Ave NW.

The city is informing local Walgreens stores about the scam to warn customers.

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