Anglian Water staff visiting a customer

Anglian Water is urging customers to be on their guard against bogus callers after a spate of incidents in Essex.

Thieves often pretend to be from a utility company to try trick their way into a home to rob it or to identify vulnerable people and homes to target.  

Anglian Water is urging customers to be sure before they open the door in order to beat them.  

Emma Staples from Anglian Water said: “The message is simple: be on your guard and if in doubt, check.  

“If you aren’t expecting a visit from us or suspect the person at your door is not who they say they are then please call our freephone number and make sure before you open the door.  

“There is no need to be embarrassed and you are well within your rights to challenge someone on your doorstep.  

“Everyone calling on behalf of Anglian Water always carries an identity card which they will give you to inspect and all of our employees are comfortable being questioned and will happily wait while a customer checks their credentials. They will not be aggravated and will not pressurise you to enter your home."

Distraction robberies are an ever present problem and many criminals continue to say they are from ‘the water board’ – even though these have not existed for 20 years.  

Anglian Water’s freephone number 0800 145 145 is manned day and night and can be called at any time.  

Emma added: “While on the phone, we will be able to describe the person on your doorstep and give you their unique number. Only a genuine Anglian Water employee will be able to tell you what their unique number is and if they can’t then the advice is simple. Don’t let them in and call the police.

“Those who want additional security can also register a password with us so that any time one of our representatives visits your home they will show you their identity card and will also be able to tell you the password you have registered.”

Top 5 Tips to protect against bogus callers:

1. Keep your door on the chain and look to see who is calling before opening it.

2. Ask to see the caller’s identification. He or she should show it to you through the crack in the door, or through the letter box. Check that the person is genuine by calling the organisation, but make sure you get the phone number from a separate source, such as the phone book or a previous bill.

3. You are entirely within your rights to have the person wait outside while you phone the organisation the caller says they are from to check their validity.  

4. It’s OK to ask the person to leave if you’re not completely satisfied that the caller is genuine. If the visit is legitimate, they can ring ahead or reschedule.  

5. If the visitor insists they need access immediately, or before you carry out the necessary checks immediately call 999.  

A simple and free call to Anglian Water on 0800 145 145 will quickly blow any cover story, or give you the reassurance that you need.  

Remember the motto:  

LOCK - make sure your back door is locked before you go to the front door

STOP - think 'Are you expecting anyone?'

CHAIN - secure the door chain before opening it

CHECK - ask for, and double-check, the caller's identity. If you are in any doubt, don't let them in.