Cold calling and phone scams
Someone calls you out of the blue, claiming that they can reduce your water bill. Or perhaps they’re asking for your bank details, so Welsh Water can give you a refund. Sound too good to be true? It is!
At best, they’re trying to trick you into paying for a service which we offer for free. At worst, they’re trying to steal money from you. Either way, it’s a rip-off – so here’s how to stay safe from the scammers. These are the main scams that are currently doing the rounds:
Surface Water Rebate scam
An independent company calls you, claiming that they can reduce your water bill by applying for a ‘surface water rebate’ on your behalf … but they’ll charge you a fee (usually around £40).
This is a scam as you can apply for this directly through us without spending a penny!
In case you didn’t know, ‘surface water’ is rainwater that falls onto a property, which drains into our public sewer. The cost of removing and treating this water is included in your sewerage charges.
However, there are some properties where surface water doesn’t drain into the public sewer – instead, it might drain to a soakaway, stream or river. If this is the case, then yes - you could be eligible for a reduction (usually around £50) in your sewerage charges. And unlike the scammers, we won’t charge you for this!
For more information about surface water rebates and how to apply for free, you can click here.
The 'we'll pay your water charges' scam
The same scammers may also ask that you pay your water charges to them rather than directly to us. But they don’t always pass the money on to us. It’s important to know that as the bill payer we’d still hold you responsible for payment and contact you directly to recover payment if you fall into arrears.
A lot of scammers just want to get hold of your bank details, so they can drain all the money from your account. They often pretend to be from your bank, or your gas and electricity supplier, or – and this really annoys us - from Welsh Water (or even ‘the water board’, which no longer exists).
Sometimes the caller will ask for your bank details, so they can arrange a non-existent ‘refund’ into your account. Or they will ask for a payment over the phone, supposedly to cover the cost of paying the refund into your account.
We never charge customers to send a refund, and we never ask for your bank details to do this.
What to do if you get a suspicious call
If you’re suspicious about someone who says they are calling on behalf of Welsh Water, or about your water or sewerage, don’t give them any personal information. Take their name, and call us on 0800 281 141 to check their identity. If it really is one of our employees, we won’t be offended!
Finally, if you think you’ve been a victim of a scam call of any kind, you can report it immediately to the police at Action Fraud on 0300 1232 040.