HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Phony utility workers have been scamming homeowners again in the suburbs.
Town utility workers — employees of New York American Water Company — come with badges, uniforms, and vehicles that show they’re the real deal.
But as CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, scam artists that first struck in early December are back on the prowl.
“I don’t want somebody else to be a victim. It hurts, we lost money,” one resident said.
So ashamed that they wouldn’t show their faces on CBS2’s cameras — the Hempstead Town senior citizens thought they were savvy enough not to get swindled, but it happened anyway.
“They may come in pairs will try to distract you while one will go with you to investigate a water leak, the other will rifle your home,” Hempstead Town Supervisor, Anthony Santino said.
“He went upstairs when we were downstairs and he did the job — money and my checkbook,” a victim said.
Investigators reminded residents that postal workers, oil deliveries, UPS, and Fed Ex should not be asking to come into your home. The water company is no different.
“If there is any doubt at all, all of our servicemen and women are dressed in uniforms, company badges with security phone numbers on the back — they come in vehicles clearly marked with our logos on it,” Brian Bruce, American Water Company said.
The latest homeowners to fall victim called 911 from Seaford, Bellmore, and Levittown.
“Very concerning, going to make sure my grandparents know about this,” Matt Waskowitz said.
“I don’t think I am as cautious as I should be, now going to pay more attention,” Levittown homeowner Barbara Keuning said.
Several have changed their habits since the utility scam was first announced.
“I don’t really answer the door. I will look out the window, and I will ask, but I am very careful who I let in my house,” one owner explained.
Nassau police reported that in December alone more than a dozen complaints of phony water, tree, gas, and oil workers trying to gain access to area homes.