Fake water department employees use lead testing scam to rob elderly victims

Victim: Thieves stole three rings
Posted at 12:33 AM, Sep 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-17 17:50:57-04

DENVER -- Fake water department employees are preying on the elderly and one victim is now warning others so they don't fall into the trap.

The victim told Denver7 she was home watching T.V. on Thursday evening, when a man in a green uniform knocked on her front door.

“He said he worked for the water department and needed to test for lead,” she said.

She thought the uniform looked official, so she let him in.

He then asked her to open the faucet in the bathroom sink and then the one in the kitchen.

When she declined to open the kitchen faucet, he asked her to show him the water pipes in the back yard. She told Denver7 that when they went out back, the man started talking about roof gutter drains.

That was a "red flag" for the homeowner.  She decided to go back into the house, but he wouldn’t let her.

“He grabbed me by the arm," she said. "I turned around and told him, 'the water in my bathroom is still running.'”

She added that as she walked back into the kitchen, she saw another man running out the front door, and noticed that he wasn’t wearing a uniform.

She said both men drove away in a van.

When she checked her bedroom, she noticed some keepsake rings were missing. Rings given to her by one of her daughters.

“I can’t believe that someone would not have a conscience and would victimize an elderly person,” said Rachel Dominguez, the homeowner’s granddaughter. “She trusted them, thinking they worked for the city.”

“It really breaks our hearts to hear these stories,” said Travis Thompson of Denver Water. “We never actually visit a home when we’re doing our lead testing program. We’ll send you a box with three empty bottles. Customers draw the sample, box it up and a courier will pick it up and bring it back to the lab.”

Thompson said the only time employees will go to a customer’s home, is if the customer asks them to, or if there is a major water main project nearby.

“There will be a lot of prior communication that occurs, before we would ever need to come into your home,” he said.

Thompson told Denver7 that employees generally wear clothing with a Denver Water logo and drive vehicles with the logo on the side.

“They’ll show you their ID badge,” he said. “If you have concerns, you can always call our customer care line at (303) 893-2444.

Ms. Dominguez said they wanted to share their story so other people will know about the scammers and will take steps to protect themselves.


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