According to officials, criminals have been posing as employees from National Grid, water companies, contractors and other utility agencies. They have been approaching homes and engaging the victims in a distracting conversation. While they are able to distract residents -diverting them to a certain area of their home - an accomplice is able to enter the home and commit a robbery.
Police did not say how many people have been affected by this scam, or where the robberies have taken place. It is unclear if police have any leads, or how many criminals may be involved in the scam.
Senator Chuck Schumer has called for National Grid to change their policy when dealing with customers. Schumer has requested that National Grid provide a notice to customers via phone and/or mail at least 24 hours in advance before an employee visits a customer’s home.
There are other precautions you can take in order to protect yourself from being victimized by this scam.
Be sure to keep all windows and doors locked, even when you are at home.
Set your alarm system every time you leave your house, even if it is only for a short period of time.
Lock your valuables in a safe, and do not leave in obvious places such as bedrooms or kitchen counters.
Ask any utility worker that approaches your home for identification, all utility employees are required to have identification.
If you are still unsure of the employees credentials, contact the agency they claim to be from and verify that they are supposed to be working in the area.
Call 911 immediately to report suspicious activity.