Rural Hopkins County water customers appear to be the target of the latest scam, police said Monday.
Customers of Shady Grove Water Supply Company #2 recently received forms from a company claiming to offer “water service line coverage ... not typically covered by basic homeowners insurance policies.” The form lists the business as HomeServce USA Repair Management Corporation, or Home Service for short, which only includes a post office box address. It claims the insurance will cover up to $7,000 annual coverage for “maintenance and repair of the water service line from your service connection to the foundation of your home.” The insurance says there will be no charge for repairs, and covers $3,500 per call, up to two calls per year — if returned by March 22. It also lists a payment schedule which asks for a credit card number or check and payment plan either by the month, quarter or year.
Maxine George with Shady Grove Water Supply Co. #2 became aware of the solicitation after her husband, Robert C. George, got a letter. They found this unusual because the promotion to the “homeowner” was mailed to him at a property not listed in his name. The fact that the business only lists a post office address and the amount quoted for repairs further raised their suspicions, so they contacted the police.
“They’ve been sending this to our water supply customers. They want you to take the insurance and agree to pay each month in case something happens to your lines. Some people, especially older people, will hear that and think they can afford a little a month instead of all that at once.”
George noted that while the WSC does make repairs, they generally don’t tack big charges onto the customer’s bills; it’s part of the service.
And, even if a repair was required on a property, it’s very unlikely that it would cost $7,000, George said.
“We make repairs, but they’re not usually added on to [customers’ bills],” George said, adding that even if they did, “There’s no way that repairs cost that much. That’s hogwash. ... You’re not out $7,000. That’d be like building a house and putting in all the plumbing for that.”
Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jim Bayuk, upon being alerted to the information, put out an advisory for local residents – particularly those in the Arbala area where the Home Service letters are known to have been sent – urging them to be cautious of such offers. He said based on the information they’d received, the letter does appear to be a scam designed to get regular payments out of local residents.
The facts that they’re not even correctly addressing the letters to property owners, the amount quoted for potential damages and that they list only a post office box as an address seem to indicate the offer is a scam, Bayuk noted, urging people to be vigilant in watching for and avoiding potential scams.
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