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ALERT: Beware of free water test scam

Posted at 6:32 PM, Mar 24, 2016
It's a flyer that appears to play on our fears of unclean drinking water. 
At the top it says "Don't put your family at risk. Dangerous Contaminants are not easily noticed." 
 
It says they test for contamination and lead. 
 
But, according to the Tampa Water Department and warnings on the Florida Attorney General's website, it's more than likely a scam.
 
"There was this young lady, she came walking up to my front door. She asked me if I wanted to get my water tested." George Lugo, a Seminole Heights resident, said.
 
Lugo is one of dozens of people targeted in his neighborhood. 
 
A young woman, going door-to-door, as well as putting flyers in mailboxes, approached him on Tuesday. At first, he agreed to the free water test. A day later, he called to cancel the appointment.
 
"I felt weird, something weird about it and then I called back to the company and cancelled the appointment," He said.
 
The flyer has bullet points warning you should get your water tested:
 
-If children reside in home under the age of 5
-If you use facet as a drinking source
-Stay 5 Miles within a Gas Station
-Near industrial facility
-Home 10 years or older
 
 
"Dangerous contaminates aren't easily noticed,'" Director of the Tampa Water Department, Chuck Weber, read. "And then 'water test only takes 30 minutes.' Well, that's very contradictory."
 
Weber says he's seen flyers like this before.
 
"The label (says) 'South East Hillsborough County.' It almost sounds like this is some sort of county function that's going on. These people aren't associated with the county at all," He added.
 
He says, typically, water testing appointments will get set up, then the people performing the test will try to sell water purifying equipment. 
 
According to the Attorney General's website, spring water usually won't even pass the tests given.
 
We called the number at the bottom of the flyer. A young woman answered and hung up as soon as we identified ourselves as ABC Action News. She called back 10 minutes later.
 
During that conversation, she said the flyers were a part of a college marketing project. When we questioned her further, she changed her story, saying it wasn't a part of her curriculum, she was just doing an experiment to see how people responded to the flyers. 
 
After more questions, she hung up the phone again. Her story did not match up with people who received the flyers in the neighborhood.
 
Weber says it's not imperative to have your water tested annually, like the flyer suggest. He says it's only important if you notice a problem.
 
"Discolored water is generally an indicator. Odor is generally an indicator. But like I said, we run thousands of tests every month, water coming out of the treatment plant is continuously monitored," he said.
 
Weber adds, if you have any questions about your water quality, you can always call the water department for free.