The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

November 16, 2013

Water company warns of phone scam

BECKLEY — Beckley Water Company is warning its customers of a possible telephone scam.

A few customers have been contacted by unknown persons regarding delinquent accounts. Customers are being told that their payment must be submitted by phone immediately. The caller will proceed to ask for the customer’s checking account number and bank routing number.

Beckley Water advises customers that it will never call its customers and demand banking information, nor do Beckley Water Company employees process payments directly by phone.

To date, only area businesses have been targeted, but Beckley Water believes that ALL customers should be aware. Additionally, customers that have been contacted have not necessarily had a delinquent account.

If any customer is contacted by someone, by telephone, saying they are from Beckley Water Company, please DO NOT give your banking information! Beckley Water Company has advised anyone who has been contacted to contact police and also make Beckley Water Company aware.

Please call Beckley Water at 304-255-5121 with questions or concerns.

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In a wider concerns the Internal Revenue Service Friday issued a consumer alert about possible scams taking place in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan and the devastation it brought to the Philippines.

Following major disasters, it is common for scam artists to impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers. Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, e-mail or in-person solicitations.

The IRS cautions people wishing to make disaster-related charitable donations to avoid scam artists by following these tips:

- To help disaster victims, donate to recognized charities.

- Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Some phony charities use names or websites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations. The IRS website at IRS.gov has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check, through which people may find legitimate, qualified charities; donations to these charities may be tax-deductible. Legitimate charities may also be found on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website at fema.gov.

- Don’t give out personal financial information — such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords — to anyone who solicits a contribution from you. Scam artists may use this information to steal your identity and money.

- Don’t give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation of the gift.

- If you plan to make a contribution for which you would like to claim a deduction, see IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, to read about the kinds of organizations that can receive deductible contributions.

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