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Multiple North Texas cities warning residents about fake water bill scam

Officials say the scam sends residents to a site posing as a city website where they ask for their money.

LEWISVILLE, Texas — Multiple cities across North Texas are warning residents and businesses about a scam involving false claims regarding water utility fees. A Lewisville hotel has been the most recent victim.  

Within recent days, Lewisville police shared a warning on their Facebook page, after several businesses were targeted by online thieves. It all started earlier this week, when a local hotel received a phone call informing employees that their water bill was late. The caller claimed the outstanding balance needed to be paid immediately, or their water would be shut off. 

“During the conversation, they were sent a link to an online cash app payment place that when you open the link, it showed the City of Lewisville logo as the icon, and then an amount of $8,500 was requested to prevent the water from being shut off,” said City of Lewisville Spokesperson Matt Martucci.

The hotel paid the fee, unaware that thieves were making off with their money. Hotel employees later said they felt something wasn’t right.

“They found it weird enough that they actually came into our water department to talk to someone in our billing department, and that’s how we all found out what was going on,” said Martucci.

Investigators say the scam involves callers spoofing city numbers and making false claims of past-due water bills. Martucci told WFAA that four other Lewisville hotels received the same type of fraudulent phone call. In each case, the number appeared to be coming from the city, and the scam seems to be making its way across DFW.

“We actually learned about the other cities after we put our warning out," Martucci said.

SCAM ALERT – FRAUDULENT CALLS Lewisville Police Department would like to inform citizens and businesses of fraudulent...

Posted by Lewisville Police Department on Tuesday, September 12, 2023

The City of Dallas also issued a warning to customers on its water utility page, advising them to, ‘be aware of scam calls and text messages’ that make false threats regarding disconnection of services for late payments.

Meanwhile the City of Irving is warning local businesses of a similar phone scam as callers are asking businesses to make payments through Zelle to avoid having the water turned off. The city’s website clearly states that it ‘does not accept payments’ through the cash app. Martucci calls the request a huge red flag.

“The city never calls you to make a payment, we’re never going to ask you to make a payment in cash and we’re certainly never going to send you a cash app to make a payment," the city said.

To date, no arrests have been made for what appears to be a widespread North Texas water utility scam.

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