Most callers at the door will be genuine. Sometimes people turn up unannounced, with the intention of tricking their way into people's homes. They are known as 'distraction burglars' or 'bogus callers', whose only aim is to gain entry and steal money or valuables. They can be smartly dressed and claim to be from the Council, Police, Health organisations or Utility companies, the most common being the 'Electricity Board' they can be very convincing and be persuasive. They use 'props' like a plausible but fake identity card (easy to produce), or wear overalls with a company logo, and are likely to say there is an emergency such as a burst pipe next door or in the property above.
If someone calls at your door, please follow the three steps below:
Before answering, stop and think if you're expecting anyone. Check your back door is locked and take the key with you.
Put your door bar or chain on. Look through the spy hole or window to see who it is. Keep the chain on while you talk to the caller through the gap.
Check their details before letting them into your property. Carefully check their identity card, even if they have a pre-arranged appointment (all genuine callers carry one). Do they look like the person on the card? Is the name the same as that expected? If you're not expecting anyone and they haven't an ID card.
Do not let them in until you've done further checks
Only let them in when you're absolutely sure they're genuine. Genuine callers won't mind waiting for you to confirm their identity and always carry an ID with photo. They'll also be happy to make an appointment. The utility companies now operate a password system - the company's representative will give the arranged password on arrival.Thames Water Information
Thames Water operates an electronically recorded Password Scheme. Once recorded against a customer's account, it is transferred to a field technician together with work instructions.
Doorstoppers Verification List
If in doubt, a Customer can verify the identity of a caller. All field technicians who have authority to visit customer's premises are listed, together with personal data that can be readily checked.
National Doorstoppers Protocol
Thames Water fully supports the National Doorstoppers Protocol summarised by active introduction, explanation, reassurance, verification and a willingness to defer visits in cases of uncertainty.
Security for Visually Impaired
Thames Water has 118 Braille users and 250 non-users and all are encouraged to use the Password Scheme. Thames Water does not include Braille on ID cards.
If a caller claims to be from the 'Water Board' They are Bogus. The Metropolitan Water Boards were privatised in 1989.
Many utility companies now supply these password forms. Please ask your subscriber for details. Thames Water and East Surrey water Boards forms are available from NW Liaison office, see our Contacts page.