Following the recent impact and disruption caused by Storm Arwen more officials than ever are knocking on peoples’ doors and visiting residents across the North East, carrying out welfare checks and visits.
This can present opportunities for bogus callers to take advantage and pose as council or utility workers in order to trick their way into homes.
Residents are being urged to be aware and take some simple steps to help them avoid becoming the victim of such scams.
If someone knocks at your door without an appointment, or you are unsure if it is an official and legitimate visit, check their identification card carefully. Close the door while you do this. If you are still unsure, call the company concerned to verify their representative’s identity. If you’re still not sure ask the caller to come back later when someone is with you.
Genuine Northumbrian Water employees will always be wearing visible identification in the form of a lanyard with their name, role and photograph on. They will be more than happy to wait until you’ve done your safety checks and you can call 0345 717 1100 which can be found on the back of the identity card to confirm it’s a genuine Northumbrian Water employee.
Helen Lumsdon, Head of Customer Operations for Northumbrian Water said: "We urge our customers to be vigilant of these criminals all year round, but particularly more so during these extreme weather conditions and dark nights.
"Anyone who receives a visit from someone claiming to work for us, should always ask to see their identification. Also be particularly cautious if the caller claims to be from ‘the water board'. This is an old term and we do not use it.
"The other measure people can take is to keep the person outside, get them to pass their identity card through the letter box, or through the gap in the door if the chain is on, and call us on the number on the back to make sure they are genuine. Our people don't mind, because they know that customers' security and peace of mind is a priority.
"If in doubt, keep them out until you know they are who they say they are."
The water company is offering customers to take advantage of its password protection scheme through its Priority Services Register. This scheme means that any customer can choose a secure password and if they were to get a visit from the water company they can confirm who they are with this, only genuine employees from Northumbrian Water would know the password. Giving extra peace of mind and protecting loved ones from bogus callers.
If you would benefit from this added protection or know of a friend, family member or neighbour that could do with password protection, you can sign them up in just two minutes here with just their name, address and contact details.