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Renton Police Warn of Utility Bill Scam

July 15, 2009

For more information contact:

Tim Troxel, Deputy Police Chief 425-430-7531
Paul Cline, Commander, Renton Police Department 425-430-7597
Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director 425-430-6569

Renton, WA—Renton Police Department warns residents to be wary of a new type of financial scam involving con artists who pretend to be utility bill collectors for the City of Renton, and have been going door-to-door to collect bill payments.

The city has received complaints from citizens who have been targeted by the scam. Renton Police reminds citizens to immediately call 9-1-1 if anyone comes to your door seeking a utility bill payment. Utility bills are mailed to customers or can be paid online. City employees never go door-to door to collect bills.

"Criminals are using different methods to scam consumers and get money from them.” said Deputy Police Chief Tim Troxel.  "This disturbing new scam is focusing on unsuspecting Renton residents who believe they are just paying their bills."

In a recent incident, a citizen was house –sitting for a neighbor when approached by the scam artist. The neighbor was told that their bill was past due, and that a $60 re-connect fee was required as well. The neighbor then made payment directly to the city, including the reconnect fee that was not due.  The scam artist did not get any money from this citizen, but it was a close call. Residents are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Don’t get scammed –request identification from anyone who claims to be a city/utility representative. After the person leaves, write down their description and direction of travel.
  • Keep doors and windows locked, even if you’ll only be out for a short time.
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately if you notice someone suspicious in your neighborhood.