A Thames Water scheme designed to protect the elderly and vulnerable from being preyed on by criminals posing as engineers has won an award from Wandsworth Council.
The bogus callers scheme, set up by Thames Water to prevent criminals entering homes by posing as engineers from the company, allows customers to register a password with Thames Water, which must be given when anyone from the company needs to visit the customer's home. It was awarded the prize for the best crime prevention/community safety scheme at the council's business awards this month.Thames Water's customer services director Mike Tempest said: 'It is very rare that we need to visit people's homes, but with the increase in activity we are involved with, particularly through our London-wide programme of Victorian water mains replacement, there is a greater risk that criminals may pretend to enter people's homes by falsely claiming they work for us. 'If ever we need to enter someone's homes, we will always contact the customer in advance; all our staff carry photo identity cards and will be happy to wait outside if a customer wants to call us to check everything is in order. If customers call us they will be encouraged to register for the password scheme, which is an easy but effective way or keeping the criminals out. The message is simple: if you're not sure, don't open the door'.Letters have been sent to all the newspapers in Thames Water's area, advising on how to avoid bogus callers, and the company has joined up with the Metropolitan Police to place messages about bogus callers in council newsletters.