Latest figures suggest that more than half of pensioners in the UK have been a victim of scammers. Scams come in all shapes and sizes – from fake emails to phone calls claiming you’re the lucky winner of a huge cash prize. It could even be someone simply knocking on your door pretending to be from your utility company in order to gain entry to your home.
The perpetrators of these crimes are often very skilled and experienced so is easy for any one of us to fall victim. However there are simple steps we can take to keep our loved ones and ourselves safe. Our policy manager Janine Shackleton guides you through our top tips.
The Consumer Council for Water’s Top Tips to protect against scams and bogus callers
– If you need to call your water company make sure you use the number on one of your bills or on the company’s official website. Don’t be tempted to find it via an internet search as this may not always direct you to the right number.
– The same applies if you receive a call claiming to be from your water or energy company. If the caller requests immediate payment of your bill, do not give out any personal details., End the call and use the number provided on your bill to call the company back to discuss the matter.
– Be cautious if you receive an unexpected home visit from your utility company.These companies will rarely turn up without a pre-arranged appointment so if you’re in any doubt, ask the visitor to wait outside while you call the company to check they are who they say they are. They won’t mind waiting if they’re the real deal.
– Even if you have an arranged appointment with your utility company, there are additional steps you can take for extra peace of mind. Firstly, always remember to ask a caller for their identity card and check it carefully – keep the visitor outside and make sure your safety chain is on while you do this.
– Ask your water company about signing up to its password protection scheme., This ensures that anyone from the company should be able to give you a pre-arranged password as additional proof of identity.
– Additionally, why not check if your area runs a nominated neighbour scheme. This is an initiative whereby if an unrecognised caller comes to the home of an elderly person when they are alone in the house, the caller will be handed a card instructing them to contact their Nominated Neighbour, who will then try and check the caller’s identity.
– If you are suspicious of anyone that calls at your property, you have every right to ask them to leave. If they refuse, call 999 immediately.
Find out more about keeping yourself safe from bogus callers, or to learn how to register for your water company’s password protection scheme.