Northumbrian Water is highlighting the sneaky lengths that some criminals will go to when trying to con people out of their money.
The utility company says it is more important than ever to be aware of such con artists, especially at this time of the year.
These criminals can sometimes stoop so low as to impersonate companies and use various phishing methods to try to take advantage of people. This can range from hoax phone calls in an attempt to obtain personal information or credit card details, to physically ringing the doorbell for the purpose of theft from people's homes.
Dawn Creighton, Head of Customer Strategy and Experience at Northumbrian Water, said: "We urge our customers to be vigilant of these criminals all year round, but particularly more so during these cold and dark nights.
"Anyone who receives a visit from someone claiming to work for us, should always ask to see their ID. Our people do not mind waiting while you call to verify who they are, even if that means taking the time to find the official number from our website or from previous correspondence we have sent you.
"As well as these criminals turning up at people's homes and sometimes using outdated terms such as ‘water board' - another common trick is to target individuals by telephone, e-mail or text.
"We'd urge customers to stay alert and be wary about giving any personal details out until you 100 percent know that the person contacting you is genuine."
The water company is offering customers to take advantage of its password protection scheme to help give extra peace of mind and protect loved ones. Only genuine employees from Northumbrian Water would know the password.
To find out more about the company's range of free priority services that provide a little extra support, visit:
For useful tips and advice on how to protect yourself and loved ones against phishing contact: