Law Enforcement, Utility Companies Cracking Down on ‘Utility Imposters’

MCMURRAY, Pa. – In conjunction with House Resolution 341 designating the week of June 8 – 12, 2015, as “Utility Imposter Awareness Week” across the Commonwealth, Pennsylvania American Water is alerting customers to be vigilant and know how to guard against criminals impersonating utility workers to gain access and rob their homes.

Pennsylvania American Water helped form the Keystone Alliance to Stop Utility Imposters, a coalition of local water, gas and electric utilities, which has joined forces with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association to launch a public awareness campaign about imposter-related crimes.

“It is extremely rare for a utility employee to show up at a customer’s home without an appointment. However, if someone comes to your door claiming to be from the ‘water company’ or another utility and you are not expecting them, do not let them inside without proper identification,” said Pennsylvania American Water Director of Communications Terry Maenza.

Across Pennsylvania, thieves have gained access to residents’ homes by posing as utility workers. Once inside the home, the imposters typically divert the resident’s attention by sending him/her to another floor while they or an accomplice robs the home.

The Keystone Alliance to Stop Utility Imposters has produced TV and radio public service announcements (PSAs), in addition to print and online materials, to educate consumers about the illicit practices of utility imposters. The coalition’s messages advise that impersonators are not easy to spot, and homeowners should always check for a company-issued photo ID. Furthermore, legitimate utility employees wear uniforms or company-branded clothing and drive vehicles with the utility’s logo.

“These criminals typically prey on seniors and use a variety of excuses to enter the home. But if homeowners know what to look for and how to protect themselves, we can not only prevent these crimes but also help law enforcement catch and prosecute the thieves to the fullest extent of the law,” said Maenza.

About the Keystone Alliance to Stop Utility Imposters:

The Keystone Alliance to Stop Utility Imposters is a coalition of water, electric and gas utilities working with the PUC and law enforcement to protect its customers from the threat of utility worker imposters.

Utility members are the Energy Association of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Chapter of National Association of Water Companies, Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association, Aqua Pennsylvania, Capital Region Water, Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority and North Penn Water Authority.

Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.2 million people.

Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs 6,400 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada. More information can be found at www.amwater.com.


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