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Bogus Caller Alert by Water Bosses in Wigan
Friday 22nd July, 2011

Water bosses in Wigan have issued a bogus caller alert after a sudden upsurge in distraction burglaries.

United Utilities says conmen posing as "water board" officials have struck at several homes in Golborne and Bryn in the last few days, stealing property and cash.

"These are unscrupulous conmen who are taking advantage of people's trusting nature. We very rarely call without an appointment. Always ask for an identity card before letting anyone into your home," said security manager John Barker.

"These bogus callers can be extremely convincing and often target elderly or vulnerable residents asking for access to their homes to look at pipes. We want people to be extra vigilant if someone calls at your home without an appointment.

"Our message is very simple. Check the callers are who they say they are and if in doubt keep them out," said John. "It doesn't matter whether they are wearing a United Utilities uniform or if there is one of our vans in the street. Always ask for identification."

The water company is working closely with Greater Manchester police and encouraging vulnerable and elderly customers to sign up to its free Extracare password scheme.

People registered with United Utilities’ Extracare scheme can set their own unique password which only genuine water company employees will know. To register with Extracare dial 0845 746 1100 or minicom 0808 143 1195. You can also do it on line at unitedutilities.com/extracare

"All Our staff, contractors and partners carry an identity card bearing their name, photograph, and a contact landline telephone number. You can check they are for real by calling our customer enquiries number 0845 746 2200, which you’ll also find at the top of your water bill," said John.

"No-one who works for United Utilities would use the phrase ‘water board’ in describing our business. Be very suspicious of anyone who says this.

"We would also ask people to be good neighbours and keep a special eye out for householders who are elderly or vulnerable as they can been extremely susceptible to conmen like this.”

People with information about suspicious activity can call their local police or, if you would prefer to remain anonymous, the confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555 111.

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