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People warned over bogus callers

People warned over bogus callers

Category: Utilities

Updated: 28/06/2011
First Published: 28/06/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Consumers have been warned to remain extra vigilant against distraction burglars or bogus callers who pretend to be from a utility company or other organisations.

The Consumer Council for Water says that there are around 30 bogus caller crimes that take place in England and Wales every day.

A number of these crimes start off criminals trying to trick their way into homes by saying that they are from a utility company, particularly the 'water board'.

The Consumer Council for Water has given people a number of tips to help them protect against bogus callers.

  • Keep your door on the chain and look to see who is calling before opening it.
  • Ask to see the caller's identification. He or she should show it to you through the crack in the door, or through the letter box. Check that the person is genuine by calling the organisation, but make sure you get the phone number from a separate source, such as the print out from the Consumer Council for Water's website, the phone book or a previous bill.
  • You are entirely within your rights to have the person wait outside while you phone the organisation the caller says they are from to check their validity.
  • It's OK to refuse entry or ask the person to leave at any time if you're not completely satisfied that the caller is genuine. If the visit is legitimate, they can ring ahead or reschedule.

"Bogus calling is a very disturbing crime because it deliberately targets vulnerable customers," Dame Yve Buckland, chair of the Consumer Council for Water, said.

"We want to make sure that everyone has the information they need should someone unexpectedly come knocking, and we have a section of our website to help people protect themselves against bogus callers.

"Those who would feel safer with more protection against bogus callers are encouraged to register a password beforehand with their water or energy company. This is then quoted by the caller as proof that they are from that organisation."

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