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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.

Customer Service: 503-823-7770


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How to Spot a Utility Scam This Holiday Season (And All Year Round)

How to spot utility scamsGuests are coming soon for the holidays, and you’re busy cleaning, cooking, and decorating. So what do you do when you get a call saying that your water will be shut off in the next two hours?

Don’t take the bait.

Here’s a few ways you can protect yourself and your wallet this holiday season.

5 Tips for Avoiding Scams

Not sure if a scammer is targeting you and your money? Look and listen for the key words and other topics below. Then follow the tips for stopping scammers in their tracks.

Don’t want to pay your bill online or in person?

Here’s what you should do: Hang up and call the Water Bureau at 503-823-7770.

The holidays are a busy time, and some scammers may try to take advantage of the hectic holidays by calling or showing up at your door, threatening utility service shut-off or fines and penalties.

  • Pre-paid debit cards: The Water Bureau will never ask that you make a payment by using a pre-paid debit card. Sometimes scammers may ask for a “GreenDot card”. We accept payment by check, money order, debit or credit card, or in-person cash at our offices at 664 N. Tillamook St. Want to make sure you never miss a payment? Sign up for AutoPay and never worry about late fees or missed payments.
  • “Payment is required immediately.” If you feel pressured for immediate payment, hang up the phone and call our Customer Service Center at 503-823-7770.
  • No ID? No way. We’ll never ask to enter your home. Remember: Our service ends at the water meter, usually located at your curb. Unless you have a scheduled appointment with a Water Bureau representative, we’ll never ask to enter your home. And we always carry City-issued identification.
  • Email from the Water Bureau? If you receive an email that claims to be from the Water Bureau, look at the sender’s email address. Invoice notices will come from City of Portland, Oregon with the email address (Invoice Cloud is the bureau’s bill pay and paperless billing provider.) Emails directly from a city employee will come from Questions? Get in touch!
  • Water line insurance offers. Have you been contacted about an offer to purchase water line insurance? While this type of insurance may not be a scam, the Water Bureau is a public utility and does not contract or affiliate with any insurance providers.

Suspect a scam? Report it.

If you think you’ve spotted a water related scam, please let us know by calling us at 503-823-7770 or email When you let us know about potential scams, we warn others to make sure the scam is stopped.

You can also report suspected scams to the Federal Trade Commission to alert federal authorities.