Anglian Water is urging people to take extra care this winter to make sure they’re protected from bogus callers.

The number of reported cases of criminal activity goes up during the darker winter evenings, with many cases of distraction burglaries caused by bogus callers.

Antony Innes, from Anglian Water, said: “Unfortunately, this time of year we hear of a lot more cases of people targeting vulnerable or elderly customers. All too often bogus callers will claim to be from the “water board” – even though this is an organisation which hasn’t existed for 40 years.

“Hearing those two words should be a sure fire sign that something’s not right.

“We want all of our customers to feel safe in their own home which is why it’s important they know what to expect from a real Anglian Water employee.”

It is rare for anyone from Anglian Water to come unexpectedly to your home and request access. If a customer has any doubts or can’t remember making an appointment then it’s best to say no and close the door – a genuine employee will be happy to come back at a different time or wait while you check they are who they say they are.

Customers in any doubt should close the door and phone Anglian Water, for free, on 0800 145 145 or alert the police.

Antony added: “All of our employees carry identification and will happily hand it to you while you check it. Calling our Freephone number at any time of day will put you through to a member of our team who’ll be able to describe the person to you and confirm they are a genuine employee.

“If in any doubt we urge customers to check with us and not be pressured into letting someone into their home.”

DCI Andy Crouch, of Operational Liberal, the national distraction burglary intelligence unit, said: “Over the four decades since this change, criminals have frequently played upon the familiarity of the Water Board name when preying upon vulnerable and elderly members of our communities to gain their trust.

“We are reinforcing the message of the water industry and we would urge neighbours and relatives of those who may be susceptible to distraction burglars to help us with that.

“Distraction burglaries have declined significantly since Operation Liberal was founded a decade ago as the national intelligence unit for this type of offending, We can reduce their number still further by ensuring that messages such as this are heard and understood in our communities.

“We, too, have a catchy and effective message for anyone who receives a cold call from someone purporting to be from a water board or other utility or service: if you’re not sure, don’t open the door.”

Some Anglian Water customers could also benefit from joining the company’s WaterCare register where they can get:

• Bottled water FAST when supplies are interrupted
• Bills in large print or Braille
• Extra protection, via their own password, against bogus callers

WaterCare is available to all sorts of customers, including those who are frail and elderly, classed as disabled, or have sight or hearing difficulties. It’s also designed to help customers with urgent medical needs such as kidney dialysis patients and nursing mothers with children under the age of one.

If you, or someone you know, could benefit from the extra care then apply online or call us on 08457 919155.