Risk of bogus callers

Scottish Water is advising customers in Ayrshire to be aware of the risk of bogus callers as Christmas approaches.

With presents under trees and gift vouchers in envelopes, bogus callers often strike during the festive season and Scottish Water is advising our customers to remain vigilant and use our 3 C’s advice – CARD, CHECK and CALL - to reduce the risk of falling prey to them.

More advice is available on our website www.scottishwater.co.uk/boguscaller.

When householders receive a cold call from anyone claiming to be from Scottish Water they should not, under any circumstances, open the door without first checking the caller’s identification card or letter.

This should be passed through the letter box for verification. This stops a bogus caller forcing their way in, even if the door is ajar, or on a chain. Our employees will be more than happy to wait while you check their identity. We also support a number of police forces across the country in their own campaigns.

Following Scottish Water’s simple 3 C’s advice could help communities across Ayrshire to beat the bogus caller:

Card – You can ask callers to pass their ID card or letter through the letter box in order to verify their identity.

Check - Check the identity card carefully: Is the photo on the card the same as the person at the door? Does the card contain the Scottish Water Customer Helpline number? Has the card been tampered with in any way?If you are not confident that they are a genuine caller, then send them away!

Call - If you are in any doubt about the caller’s identity please call our Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855. We advise customers to contact utility companies by using phone numbers found in telephone directories or the internet, but never from ID cards or letters presented, because these could be false. If you are still suspicious contact a neighbour or call the police.

Scottish Water’s Customer Service Delivery Director, Peter Farrer is advising customers to remain alert.

He said: “As our investment programme to deliver clearer, fresher drinking water and improve the natural environment across Scotland continues, Scottish Water workers are highly visible in towns and villages across the country. However, there are those, particularly at this time of year, who would take advantage of this essential work by posing as bogus water employees.”

On occasion, when we need access to a customer’s property, we normally try to contact them in advance and arrange a suitable time. However, there may be occasions when we need to cold-call, but all our staff carry identity badges and are happy to display these on arrival. We never call at a customer’s home to collect money or enter homes to check plumbing for leaks or to switch off the mains.

Mrs Jane McKenzie, Scottish Water’s Regional Communities Manager for the area, said: “All our employees carry identity cards, which they are more than happy to show when requested to do so. Householders shouldn’t let anyone into their home until they are sure of their identity. Check through the peep hole on your door; ask them to pass their ID card or letter through the letter box. Our employees will be more than happy to wait while you check their identity.

“If you’re on your own and feel that you need more support then call a neighbour or a friend, and if you are at all worried about a caller, then please contact the police straight away.The advice is easy to remember - just 3 C’s – card, check and call.”

Water companies across the country are all working together to stamp out bogus caller crime. Pamela Taylor, Chief Executive, Water UK, said: “The whole water industry is behind the campaign to tackle this crime which targets the most vulnerable people. We are very pleased to support Scottish Water’s initiative in partnership with the police and other agencies to remove opportunities for bogus callers to strike.”

In a bid to help protect customers against Bogus Callers, Scottish Water is again offering an Anti-Bogus Caller Pack which contains a personal electronic alarm, window sensor, door viewer, UV Marker Pen and guard bar.

Mrs McKenzie said: “We have introduced this pack because of a spate of Bogus Caller incidents where criminals pose as Scottish Water employees, in order to gain access to a customer’s property. The packs have proven to be a great success in previous years and this year we’re again offering them out to vulnerable customers. The pack is designed to encourage all our customers to take some simple but effective steps to avoid falling victim to such a callous, calculated crime. “

Packs are available to the first 50 customers contacting Scottish Water by emailing customermarketing@scottishwater.co.uk or writing to us quoting Bogus Caller Pack, Customer Marketing, PO Box 8855 Edinburgh EH10 6YQ.