Thursday, 24 January 2013

Bogus caller scam uncovered in Bradford

We have recently been alerted by our customers via social media channels, to bogus caller activity taking place in a number of Bradford suburbs including Heaton, Allerton and Lower Grange.

In a Facebook post, one customer wrote: "Beware 2 or 3 guys may visit your home claiming to be from Yorkshire Water, saying they want to install shower caps to save water, they may also claim to be from Escom, saying they will change your light bulbs for free. They have been spotted in several areas, like Heaton, Allerton and Lower Grange. Don't let them into your house, they are there to rob you and been doing so at gun point. Please report this so as many people as possible know what is happening. Please keep your doors locked."

Just to confirm, we are not visiting properties to install shower caps and are urging all our customers in the Bradford area to never let anyone claiming to be from the company into their property unless they have fully verified all their details.

All genuine Yorkshire Water employees carry identification, and on the very rare occasions we visit customers' properties, this identification can and should always be verified by calling 0800 1 38 78 78. Whilst making this call, customers should close their door on the caller. Genuine callers will have no issue waiting whilst their credentials are verified.

Matt Thompson from our media team has the following advice: 

"As sad as it is, these people are out there, operating, and looking to con anyone they can so that they can rob them of their valuables and money.

"The people who carry out such acts are quite simply despicable, and we want to make sure that no one falls victim to their evil tactics.

"It's very rare that we do ever visit customers properties in the first instance, so customers should always be wary if they receive someone on their doorstep claiming to be from the company.

"If this does happen, we ask all customers never, ever, to let the caller into their property without fully checking all their credentials. And if you're not convinced, simply don't let them in. Genuine callers will not have an issue coming back at another time once their details have been fully verified."

To help crack down on the scourge of bogus callers, we have also set up a customer password system, with more than seven thousand customers already signed up to it.

The scheme works by enabling customers to register an agreed personal password through a simple phonecall. Then, whenever they receive a phonecall or a visit to their property by someone claiming to be from Yorkshire Water, they can ask for this password. If the caller cannot provide them with their password, they should not, under any circumstances, let them into their property or continue with the phonecall.

And if, upon receiving the correct password, they still have concerns about the identity of the caller, they can verify their identity simply by contacting the company on 0845 1 24 24 24. Genuine Yorkshire Water employees won't mind waiting whilst their details are fully checked.

To sign up to our doorstep password scheme, simply contact the company on 0845 1 24 24 24. For more information and advice on how to prevent yourself from falling victim to bogus callers, visit yorkshirewater.com/boguscallers

To help further reduce the risk of becoming a victim of this crime, remember the following four steps:

· LOCK all doors - even when you are at home all doors - even when you are at home

· STOP before you open the door, ask them who they are before you open the door, ask them who they are

· CHAIN- always use a door chain or spy hole - always use a door chain or spy hole chain- always use a door chain or spy hole - always use a door chain or spy hole

· NOT sure who they are? Don't open the door!

ALWAYS ask the caller for their identification, and check it, before letting them in. Use the phone number in the phone book, not the one on their identity card, ask the caller for their identification, and check it, before letting them in.

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