It’s unfortunate but true: You can’t trust just anybody who knocks on your door. Crooks posing as water meter readers might sound like an urban legend, but the scam is still relatively common across the country. Delaware, for example, recently experienced a rash of reports of fake utility workers attempting to access people’s homes, as did Louisville. If your water meter is indoors, your family could be particularly vulnerable to scams if you aren’t careful. Read on to learn how to prevent criminals from using your household plumbing as an excuse to rob you.
Safeguard Your Cash, Jewelry and Identity
Nefarious individuals might be trying to gain access to your home so they can steal your money or valuables, but there are other ways that meter-reading scams play out as well. For example, the thieves might knock on your door and tell you that your bills are past due, threatening to cut off your service if you don’t make an immediate cash payment. Or, people posing as workers could simply ask to collect personal information, such as your name and social security number, which they then use to steal your identity.
Follow these tips to avoid scams:
- Always look for the company logo on the uniform and vehicle of anyone who arrives at your property.
- Ask to see the official company identification badge for any utility employee who wants to access your home or collect personal information.
- Know your household plumbing. If the meter is located outside, you obviously shouldn’t let anyone inside to inspect it.
- Look into getting a smart water meter. These meters monitor and report on your household plumbing use automatically so the utility company never has to come to your home unless there is a problem. Not every water company offers smart meters yet, but they should become more and more common in the coming years.
The More You Know, the Safer You Are
Additionally, by keeping up on your bills and generally being aware of your monthly charges, you can sniff out scams and avoid becoming a victim. If you are past due on payments, most utility companies will make multiple efforts to contact you via mail and telephone before a worker arrives to cut off your service.
Listen to your instincts when they tell you that someone is falsely claiming to be from the water company. Call the utility to ask if they sent a worker before you let anyone inside, and if you feel threatened, call the police as well.
Leave Your Household Plumbing in Trusted Hands
If you have any questions about your household plumbing or want to learn more about your water meter, call a qualified residential plumber today.