Thames Water is today warning customers not to allow anyone into their home claiming to be working for the water company without seeing proper identification.
Customers are being encouraged to sign up to the doorstep password scheme, where they can set up a personal password to be given by any Thames Water employee that visits their property.
The warning is being made after reports of bogus calls in parts of Dartford, Croydon and Hackney where fraudsters, claiming to be from Thames Water, have demanded significant upfront payments for what they say are emergency sewer repairs. The callers are said to have been driving vans bearing the Thames Water logo.
Thames Water’s counter fraud manager Stuart Orchard, said: “The message is simple: if in doubt, keep them out. We send our engineers out with clear identification badges and if you’re still not sure, phone us to confirm before letting them in. Don’t assume because they’re in a van which has Thames Water written on it, or wearing jackets with our logo, they’re genuine employees, because that isn’t necessarily the case. It’s also important to note we’d never ask for any sort of cash payment from a customer before carrying out work.
“Our customers’ safety is our top priority so please be vigilant when answering the door to anyone claiming to be from Thames Water or the ‘water board’. Be alert and be aware.”
Details of the bogus calls have been passed to police for further investigation.
Anyone who suspects a bogus caller can call Thames Water’s helpline 0800 316 9800 to verify their identity.
Doorstep password scheme
As well as a dedicated bogus caller helpline, we also operate a Doorstep Password Scheme. Customers register a personal password with us, so any caller stating they are from Thames Water MUST provide the customer with their personal password before entering the property. If the caller cannot give the password, customers must keep the door shut and telephone us straight away to verify. To register for this scheme please call 0800 316 9800 (text phone 0800 316 9898)
Sign up for the doorstep password scheme
- Avoid keeping large amounts of money in your home.
- If a bogus caller attempts to, or manages to get into your home, inform the police immediately.
- Beware of anyone claiming to be from ‘the water board’ as the ‘water board’ no longer exists.
- Are you expecting anyone? It is rare for water company employees to need to get into your home without arranging it with you first.
- Examine the caller’s identity card.
- Make sure your next caller is genuine – if the caller says they are from the water company, ring your relevant company to check their identity. A genuine caller will not mind waiting.
- Make sure your front and back doors are locked at all times.
- Use your door chain while checking the caller’s identity. Speak to them through a locked door – accept their identity card through your letterbox.