Your home should be a safe, secure refuge for your family and possessions. Unfortunately, there are people in the world who would liberate you of your money and other valuables if they have an opportunity. Sometimes, people who claim to work for the local electrical works can actually be criminals looking to make a quick buck. Read on to learn how to protect yourself and your family.
Don’t Let Your Electrical Work be a Gateway for Crime
Fake utility reader crooks might sound like an urban legend, but shady characters are out there, taking advantage of trusting residents. Follow these steps to keep from getting scammed:
- Ask for identification: This is important advice for any person attempting to access your home or property – ask to see their official photo identification, make sure it has the company logo, jot down their name and ID number, and if anything seems to be awry, call up the utility company to verify their legitimacy before allowing them to proceed.
- Check the uniform and the truck: Utility companies want to make it easy for you to identify their employees. They should be wearing uniforms and driving a vehicle that displays the official logo.
- Know where your meters are: Many utility meters are actually located outside the home, so the person coming to read it has no reason to enter your home at all. If your electric meter is outdoors, but someone claiming to be from the utility company insists on coming in, keep the door locked and call the police.
- Don’t provide personal information: Some crooks are on the prowl for your identity, not your belongings. Never give out sensitive personal information to people claiming they work for the utility, no matter how convincing they seem.
- Get on the smart meter bandwagon: Many utility companies are now installing smart meters, which have a host of advantages, including real-time metering and data aggregation. An added benefit is that your usage is transmitted to the company automatically, so there is no need for someone to physically come read the meter. Make sure you know what kind of meter you have so you’ll know to be suspicious if someone claiming to be a meter reader is lurking around the property.
- Trust your instincts: Professional meter readers visit thousands and thousands of homes, and their work quickly becomes routine. Criminals and scammers, on the other hand, may be nervous or aggressive. If someone who wants to read your electric meter comes off as suspicious, trust your instincts and investigate further.
Keep Your Family Up to Speed
Make sure the rest of your family understands who they should and should not allow inside. Children and elderly relatives in particular can be vulnerable to scams, so take special care to alert them to the house rules.