Crouch End resident issues warning following lucky escape from scammers
- Credit: Polly Hancock
Scammers pretending to be from Thames Water recently targeted a Crouch End resident, who has warned neighbours to be wary.
On Wednesday, February 16, the resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, said a man hailed them down as they were leaving their home.
Claiming to be from Thames Water, he said the company believed there was a leak in a waste pipe outside one of the houses on the street, and asked to check the drainage in the resident’s home.
When asked for ID, he said he was a sub-contractor, and so did not have one. The victim said this should have raised alarm bells, but wishing to be helpful, they let him in.
Later the same day, the resident received a call from someone also claiming to be from Thames Water, who said that a team would be sent round late-afternoon to resolve the issue. However, no one arrived.
It was on relaying the events to their partner the following day that the resident realised it was a scam.
They said: “What they were trying to do was to gain entry. Test the place, and then try and find out if I was in by ringing up later that day so that they could break in.”
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The police and Thames Water were notified, though the resident said they want to raise the issue publicly so others are aware of the way these scams work.
“If anyone is approached by anyone who claims to be from Thames Water, the first question should be ‘may I see your ID?’” they said. “If they haven’t got any, or they’re suspicious, ring the police.
“When he engaged me I was ‘in the moment’, and all of the common sense seems to drain away as you want to be helpful and get these things resolved.
“In retrospect, you’ve got to be a lot more on the ball.”
Stuart Orchard, Thames Water’s counter fraud manager, said: “Our engineers wear clear identification badges but our message is simple: ‘if you're unsure, don't open your door’.
“Our customers’ safety is our top priority and registering for our doorstep password scheme means they can set up a personal password that will be given by any genuine Thames Water employee that visits their property.”
Crouch End Safer Neighbourhood Team was contacted for comment.