Bogus Callers Will Steal Christmas
23 December 2021 12:17
It’s not just the Grinch who can steal Christmas, bogus callers will too! While Christmas is a time to welcome friends and family into our home, it is also a reminder that not all visitors will be spreading festive cheer; some will be bogus callers preying on the old and vulnerable claiming to be from NI Water.
Bogus callers are an all too common problem, and their preferred course of action is to pose as staff seeking to gain entry to check the water supply in the customer’s property, or causing distraction while an accomplice breaks in. Once they have gained entry they will distract the customer and try to steal valuables lying around the home.
If a caller comes to your door claiming to be from NI Water, Water Service or the Water Board, always ask to see their ID – all NI Water staff carry ID cards as they go about their business. This will have a photograph of the person carrying it and include details such as their name, a unique serial number and our distinctive NI Water logo. Also, attach your door chain, if you have one; if not, ask the caller to hold the ID card up to a window or put it through your letterbox so you can read it properly without opening your door. Please do not be afraid to check a caller’s ID; genuine callers from NI Water won’t mind waiting while you do. Never allow anyone into your home unless you are certain they are who they say they are.
Gary Lawther, Customer Experience Senior Manager, gives this advice: ‘It is unusual that someone claiming to be from NI Water will need to call at your door if you are not expecting them. However, if this does happen, simply call the ‘Quick Check’ number on 101. The Quick Check scheme provides reassurance to members of the public about callers to their door claiming to be from network companies. Anyone who wishes to check the identity of someone who says they are calling on the pretext of inspecting gas, electricity or water supplies can call the police non-emergency 101 number to verify their identity.
“Your call will be answered by a trained police call handler who will take the details of the company the caller claims to be working for. The call handler will then contact the utility supplier to determine whether the caller is genuine.”
Graham Smith, Head of Water at the Consumer Council said: “Consumers should always treat unexpected callers with caution and ask for ID before allowing them into their home, a genuine person will not mind showing it. Consumers can also phone the company the person is representing or check online but they should never use the contact details the person gives as these could be fake. Along with the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Quick Check Scheme, older consumers can make use of the Nominated Neighbour Scheme. Through the scheme, an older consumer can ask the caller to contact their Nominated Neighbour to check the caller’s identity. More importantly, if consumers feel threatened or in immediate danger, they should call 999.”
There are occasions when households will be visited by our water quality samplers. These samples, taken from our customers’ taps, are taken in line with the drinking water regulations and are vital to ensuring water quality is checked and maintained all year round. However, customers should remember that our water quality samplers will always carry NI Water identification.
NI Water also provides a range of free additional services if you have a disability, are an older consumer, have a serious medical condition or need extra help for any other reason.
If this applies to you, join our Customer Care Register by calling Waterline on 03457 440088.
All media enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES TO EDITOR:
Quick check partners:
Northern Ireland Electricity Networks, Northern Ireland Water, Phoenix Natural Gas Ltd, SGN Natural Gas, SSE Airtricity, Firmus, the Utility Regulator and the PSNI