SYOSSET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Three Long Island communities targeted by thieves will be participating in a new pilot program from National Grid, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.

Authorities said scam artists in Herricks, Syosset and Westbury posing as National Grid workers conned elderly residents into letting them into their homes and stealing cash and jewelry.

In one incident, a man, who was wearing a yellow construction hat and vest, told the victim that he was a National Grid employee and that he needed to check the water in the house because of a nearby gas explosion, police said. The victim told police she heard footsteps on the main floor of the house when she was in the basement with the suspect and later discovered her jewelry missing.

National Grid Spokeswoman Wendy Ladd told Hall the company will call 24 hours ahead of time in the three communities to tell customers a worker is coming. Ladd also said with automatic meter readers, workers will no longer have to go into a customer’s home, they will be able to simply drive by and check the numbers.

The new protocol comes after CBS 2’s Dana Tyler reported in June, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) specifically urged National Grid to notify Long Island customers 24 hours in advance of any in-house visit by a meter reader or other technician.

Ladd also said every National Grid employee has a photo ID that they are required to wear, which they should show upon request at each visit.

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