Residents in Farnham are being warned to be on their guard following reports of a bogus caller requesting to view customers’ internal stoptaps.

South East Water has received a report of a man claiming to be from its partnering contractor last week. He is reported to have knocked on a door in the Weydon Hill Road area of Farnham and asked to have a look at a customer’s internal stoptap.

Luckily, the customer actually worked for South East Water’s contractor so knew this wasn’t a legitimate request.

South East Water is now warning residents to be alert and to thoroughly check the identity of any unexpected doorstep callers claiming to be from or working on behalf of the company before letting them carry out work on their property or letting them inside.

One action that elderly residents and people living alone can do is to register with South East Water for a security password which will be used by anyone from the company needing entry into the person’s home. Signing up for a password is a simple and effective way to avoid becoming a victim of this kind of crime.

Steve Andrews, Head of Service Management at South East Water, said: “Sometimes our staff or contractors working on our behalf do have to make unplanned visits, but if there is no security password in place, they will always be happy to wait while customers check their credentials.

“In addition our staff or contractors will always show their photographic identity cards before asking to be let in, be in the company’s uniform and have a liveried van parked nearby.

“It is worth bearing in mind that if there had been a serious leak then the house probably would have been without water or experiencing low water pressure and we would only be there if the resident had actually called us out.”

Many distraction crimes reported to the police involve callers claiming to be from a water company, or ‘Water Board’, a description no longer used by all British water companies. It is known that a number of distraction burglaries go unreported because many vulnerable victims – particularly the elderly – feel too embarrassed or scared to report the crime.

South East Water’s advice is to: • Register for a security password on 0333 000 0002 • Make sure the back door is always locked before going to the front door • Put on the door chain if there is one before opening the door • Check to see who is at the door by looking through a window or spy hole • Look for an identity card, a uniform and a liveried van • Check the person’s identity via the bogus caller telephone line on 0800 519 2222 • If still suspicious telephone the police – better to be safe than sorry. For further information please contact Jessica Bave.