The Consumer Council for Water is calling for consumers to be extra vigilant against distraction burglars or bogus callers, criminals who pretend to be from a utility company or other organisation to trick their way into a home and rob it.
Around 30 bogus caller crimes happen in England and Wales every day, and a number of these criminals try to trick their way into a home by saying that they are from a utility company, particularly, the water board.
Dame Yve Buckland, Chair of the Consumer Council for Water, said: Bogus calling is a very disturbing crime because it deliberately targets vulnerable customers.
We want to make sure that everyone has the information they need should someone unexpectedly come knocking, and we have a section of our website to help people protect themselves against bogus callers.
Anyone can go to our website; choose their utility suppliers, and print off a list of contact phone numbers along with our list of top tips to keep near the telephone.
Those who would feel safer with more protection against bogus callers are encouraged to register a password beforehand with their water or energy company. This is then quoted by the caller as proof that they are from that organisation.
Top Tips to protect against bogus callers
Keep your door on the chain and look to see who is calling before opening it.
Ask to see the callers 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 print out from our website, the phone book or a previous bill.
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.
Its OK to refuse entry or ask the person to leave at any time if youre not completely satisfied that the caller is genuine. If the visit is legitimate, they can ring ahead or reschedule.
If the visitor insists they need access immediately, or before you carry out the necessary checks immediately call 999.