With a trend of violent crime being perpetrated by individuals posing as city officials, local residents are warned not to take anything at face value.
Recent reports have revealed that individuals are fraudulently gaining access to properties by showing the credentials and identification of city officials. This trend is also affecting service delivery and is impacting the ability of bona fide officials to do their jobs.
Maanda Tshifularo, Head of Dialdirect, explains that there are certain things to look out for that will determine if a city official is legitimate or not. “Always request identification before you allow someone onto your property. City Power officials, for example, have colour coded ID for the specific sections in which they work. The ID will also include a name, photograph and ID number as well as an expiry date and a hologram of a firefly,” he says.
Dialdirect provides the following tips on how to protect yourself and your home against imposter crimes:
- Always ask for identification and then call City Power to verify that it is authentic.
- If you are not at home during the day, inform your domestic worker/ caretaker or family members of any suppliers who are expected to come to the house. Anyone who arrives unannounced, cannot be given access.
- Ensure that domestic workers who are home alone during the day have received training around who may be let onto the property, the contact numbers of your security company and what to do in an emergency.
- Should you not be at home at during the week, it is possible to phone the City Power Metering Call Centre to make an appointment for an official to read the meter after hours or on the weekend.
- Appointments can be scheduled during office hours too, which means the visits are expected as opposed to unannounced.
- Make sure all members of your family have access to the Dialdirect Namola safety app in case of emergency.
- If you are away, ensure that you have a friend or family member to pop past regularly to collect mail or newspapers and generally give the impression that someone is home.
- Where possible, all initial interactions should be conducted over an intercom system, before engaging in person. A good CCTV and intercom system is a wise investment.
- Avoid leaving old bills, boxes of newly purchased goods and documentation containing personal information in the trash, especially if its easily accessible.
“A healthy sense of scepticism can really go a long way and could end up saving more than just your possessions,” concludes Tshifularo.