A warning is going out about homeowners being preyed on by crooks. Local water departments say individuals posing as utility workers are gaining access inside homes and businesses.
They're called door-to-door scams. "It happens [and] we're not happy about it," said Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission Spokesman I.J. Hudson. "People do try and take advantage of people."
He's referring to water utility imposters surprising homeowners. WSSC wants to make sure you turn them away.
"There's the old saying 'trust but verify,'" informed Hudson.
He shared some warning signs. "Our people don't do any financial transactions in the field so we're not out asking for personal information or anything else that can be used against you."
Hudson says workers always roll up in a blue truck with the WSSC company name and the water drop logo. Workers must also carry an official ID and wear the right uniform.
"If there's any question at all, ask for the name of a supervisor," he said matter-of-factly.
He's urging caution after Fairfax County police learned of at least two incidents where someone pretended to be from Fairfax Water last week. We spoke one of those victims Sunday and agreed to protect her identity.
"Part of me was reason[able] and said this didn't add up, but I did nothing about it," she said.
The 76 year-old says the fake utility worker said he was not allowed in her backyard unless she was with him. Police say when she walked him back, an accomplice entered her home and stole $225 from her purse and searched for more valuables.
Now she says she's learned a lesson: "Either you know them or you don't." "Just don't open the door," she pressed.
Prince George's County police haven't taken any recent calls of people posing as WSSC workers. The utility company says it's not immune to this kind of crime and wants residents warned before they become victims.
To report suspicious activities involving WSSC employees or vehicles, call your local police and contact WSSC at (301) 206-8888.