Yorkshire Water is joining forces with South Yorkshire Police, Meg Munn MP and the Keep Me Posted campaign as it increases the support offered to vulnerable customers.
The company is the latest to join Meg Munn MP in supporting the Keep Me Posted campaign, signing up to a pledge on Friday (November 21st 2014) to give customers the right to choose how they are contacted by companies, whether that’s electronically or in the post.
And Yorkshire Water is also working with South Yorkshire Police to try and raise awareness of the distraction burglary tactics used by criminals posing as representatives of the “water board”.
The latest police figures show that pretending to be from Yorkshire Water is the top tactic used by bogus callers to gain access to resident’s homes, with almost a quarter of crimes instigated in this way.
Residents around the region are being warned about the ploy and urged to follow some simple steps to ensure they don’t fall victim to the same trick.
South Yorkshire Police’s advice to customers is:
- Think before you open the door – don’t open it all the way before you’ve checked their identity
· Fit a door chain or bar to wooden doors, special door chains are available for UPVC doors
· Keep your front and back doors locked at all times, even when at home, to prevent ‘sneak in’ burglars
· Identification does not guarantee the caller is genuine; ask to check it yourself and contact the company. Do not use the number printed on the card as it could be false, find one in your phone book or on the internet
· Use a bank or building society to keep larger sums of money rather than hiding it in your home
Andy Foster, Project Officer from South Yorkshire Police said: “In the last 7 years distraction burglary offences have decreased by 70%. That’s fantastic news and shows the benefit of partnership working to raise awareness of these issues. However, the impact of this type of crime can be devastating and you should always be on your guard when someone calls at your door unexpectedly.
“Our advice is simple - keep your doors locked and do not let strangers into your home unless you have verified their identity. If they are genuine they will not object and if you are not sure, don’t open the door.”
Wendy Berriman, Yorkshire Water Campaigns Assistant, said: “It’s really important that we offer support to our most vulnerable customers right across the region in whatever way we can.
“Campaigns like Keep Me Posted are one way of doing that, ensuring we are communicating with our customers in the way that they prefer. But it’s also important for us to help our customers stay safe by raising awareness of despicable crimes like these distraction burglaries.
“We’d like to advise any of our customers that might be concerned about falling victim to these ploys to register with our Password Scheme on 0800 138 78 78. It will allow you to set up a password which any genuine Yorkshire Water colleague will know when visiting you, so you can verify their identity.”
Meg Munn MP said: “My constituency of Sheffield Heeley has a large elderly population, who along with disabled people and those that lack access to the internet, often have the greatest need for paper statements and bills. I am delighted Yorkshire Water are supporting the Keep me Posted campaign so that my constituents will have the right to choose how to receive important information.”
And Judith Donovan CBE, who chairs the Keep Me Posted campaign, said, “We are delighted that Yorkshire Water has become the latest service provider to join the Keep Me Posted campaign. In a drive for greater efficiency and cost cutting, some businesses have forgotten to take into account the communications needs of their vulnerable customers.
“We know from working with a diverse roster of 69 charities and concerned groups that many consumers are not ready to make this leap to digital communication. Even in instances where customers might be able to, they should still reserve the right to receive bills and statements in whatever fashion enables them to best manage their money.
“By adopting the Keep Me Posted pledge, Yorkshire Water has demonstrated its commitment to protecting the rights of their customers to choose how they are communicated with by the company. We hope that other providers across the UK will follow their example and pledge to protect consumers’ rights.”