Warning over bogus water board officials in South Yorkshire

Andy Foster and Janet Collinson act out a potential scenario for'a distraction burglary at the Lifewise Centre to show the dangers and steps'that can be taken.,
Andy Foster and Janet Collinson act out a potential scenario for'a distraction burglary at the Lifewise Centre to show the dangers and steps'that can be taken.,
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Conmen tricking their way into homes across South Yorkshire pose as ‘water board’ officials more than any other guise.

To combat the issue Yorkshire Water is backing the ‘Keep Me Posted’ campaign, giving customers the right to choose how they are contacted by companies.

It is also urging people to register with its password scheme.

Genuine Yorkshire Water employees calling at homes would be expected to recite a password to confirm their identity and gain access to homes.

South Yorkshire Police claim that a quarter of all distraction burglaries in the county are committed by fraudsters claiming to be ‘water board’ officials.

Andy Foster, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “In the last seven years distraction burglary offences have decreased by 70 per cent. That’s fantastic news and shows the benefit of partnership working to raise awareness of these issues.

“However, the impact of this type of crime can be devastating and you should always be on your guard when someone calls at your door unexpectedly.

“Our advice is simple - keep your doors locked and do not let strangers into your home unless you have verified their identity.

“If they are genuine they will not object and if you are not sure, don’t open the door.”

Wendy Berriman, of Yorkshire Water, said: “It’s really important that we offer support to our most vulnerable customers right across the region in whatever way we can.

“Campaigns like Keep Me Posted are one way of doing that, ensuring we are communicating with customers in the way that they prefer.

“But it’s also important for us to help our customers stay safe by raising awareness of despicable crimes like these distraction burglaries.”

MP Ms Munn, who represents Heeley for Labour, said: “I am delighted Yorkshire Water are supporting the Keep me Posted campaign so that my constituents will have the right to choose how to receive important information.

My constituency has a large elderly population, who along with disabled people and those that lack access to the internet, often have the greatest need for paper statements and bills.”