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    Scammers in various communities across the US are exploiting preloaded debit cards to steal money from consumers. The City of Grand Rapids has been contacted by a customer who was informed in a phone call that they could avoid having water service cut-off by taking specific steps. In this case, the caller informed the customer that they were a "City worker" and that the person needed to go to Walgreen's and purchase a prepaid VISA card or Green Dot prepaid card to make payment over the phone. In these types of scams, the customers are told that the quickest way to make their payment is by getting the preloaded debit card and calling back to a toll free phone number and providing the account numbers on the prepaid card (some scammers may ask the person to leave a message with the account numbers on the prepaid card). Utilities customers and the refuse cart "Pay-As-You-Throw'' customers are advised not to respond to these types of phone calls.
    This type of scam has occurred in other states and in other Michigan communities. The scam typically involves preloaded debit cards (the Green Dot prepaid card is a popular choice) where the thieves pose as utility company employees and threaten disconnection of service unless an immediate payment is made using a prepaid card. The City of Grand Rapids Utilities or Public Services staff will not use phone calls to require customers to make a payment to avoid a cutoff of service. Grand Rapids water and sewer payments are accepted through the mail, on-line via credit card payment, or in person at 300 Monroe NW. If you believe you have been contacted by a scammer, please call our customer service staff at 456-3020.