Beware the Bogus Gas Man

There have been recent reports in the Upminster/Cranham area of a man calling at properties pretending to be from the Gas Board to supposedly inspect the meter, but would probably have more interest in inspecting items of value that are in the household.

The latest incident was yesterday (6th January) which involved an 86-year-old gentleman living in the Upminster area who had a caller from the ‘Gas Board’.

The gentleman opened the door on a chain and spoke to the caller with the door secure. The man told him there had been a gas leak up the road and he needed to check the meter. The gentleman promptly told him to go away and he would speak to the Gas Board himself. He closed the door and the caller went on his way.

The matter was reported to the Police who suggested that residents should always ask to see identification or phone the company mentioned or even phone the police (call 101) and ask them to check if there is, for example, a gas leak in the area.

On this occasion it seemed obvious that this was a bogus caller who was swiftly sent on his way, however the broader message is to beware of callers making unexpected visits on ‘official business’ but do not have the required ID.

Cllr Clarence Barrett, who gives talks on scams and fraud, said: “Fraudsters will use every trick in the book to gain confidence and then gain entry into a property for unlawful purposes. Residents are advised to check carefully the ID of any caller to check it is genuine, if in doubt don’t allow entry until you are totally confident.”

British Gas (along with most utility companies) provide the following advice to check if the caller is a genuine British Gas representative:

  1. All employees will have an ID card with large print versions available on request. The card should contain the following information:
    • Who they represent
    • Their photograph
    • Contact telephone number to double-check
    • Expiry date for the card
  2. Passwords can be obtained for those who may experience difficulty in reading an ID card. Residents can join the password scheme by calling 0800 072 8625.
  3. The caller will be wearing a company uniform and logo, which should also be seen on the side of the vehicle.

A leaflet has been produced by British Gas giving advice on checking the identity of a British Gas representative. Click British Gas to view.


1 Comment
  1. Please don’t forget that a lot of the elderly may not have computers etc and won’t have seen this. So…. Front page Reorder! BBC Essex radio and local news on BBC Tv.

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