It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid, or so the old song says. However, there are some people in the community who are happy to use crime to cause fear and concern at this time of the year.
NI Water is calling on customers across Northern Ireland to be extra vigilant during the Christmas and New Year period and beware of bogus callers, following a number of incidents this year involving some more vulnerable customers and criminals coming to their door claiming to represent the company.
The general pattern of events is for criminals posing as NI Water staff seeking to gain entry to check the water supply in the customer’s property, often resulting in serious distress for the customers involved.
If a caller comes to your door claiming to be from NI Water, Water Service or the Water Board, always ask to see their ID – all NI Water staff carry ID cards as they go about their business. This will have a photograph of the person carrying it and include details such as their name, a unique serial number and our distinctive NI Water logo. Also attach your door chain, if you have one; if not, ask the caller to hold the ID card up to a window or put it through your letterbox so you can read it properly without opening your door. If you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to contact Waterline on 03457 440088 to get some clarity.
Des Nevin, NI Water’s Head of Customer Service Centre, gives this advice: “Most people enjoy welcoming friends and family into their homes during the festive period, but not all seasonal visitors are welcome guests, and they are ready to bring an end to the Christmas cheer by their criminal actions.
‘‘It is very unusual that someone claiming to be from NI Water will need to call at your door. However, if this does happen, simply call our customer helpline on 03457 440088 to confirm with our customer service staff whether the person is in fact genuine. When you are calling to clarify the identity of anyone claiming to represent NI Water, our customer service team will check:
- Serial number
- Date of issue
“Don’t be afraid to check the ID. Genuine callers won’t mind waiting while you do. NEVER allow anyone access to your property unless you are absolutely sure they are who they say they are.
‘‘It’s great to have visitors around over Christmas and the New Year, but bogus callers are the sort of visitors no-one wants. However, there is one stranger you shouldn’t forget to allow access to your house – but he won’t be making his annual visit until late on Christmas Eve!’’
The same security message applies to telephone calls from people claiming to be from NI Water and asking for bank details. NEVER give this information out over the telephone. Simply hang up and report the call to the police or the NI Water customer service helpline on 03457 440088.