NIE Networks and The Consumer Council remind the public to be safe on the doorstep
NIE Networks and The Consumer Council are reminding the public to stay safe and guard against bogus callers on the doorstep. There are concerns that bogus callers may take the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to take advantage of consumers.
NIE Networks has currently stopped all meter reading services for both domestic and commercial premises. However, engineers may still have to enter your property if you experience a meter fault and have an indoor meter.
Therefore, NIE Networks, who transports electricity to 880,000 customers in Northern Ireland, has teamed up with The Consumer Council to remind the public of three simple steps to take if an unexpected caller arrives at the door.
- Check their credentials – If a member of the NIE Networks team or other utility company arrives at the door, they will always show identification. If in doubt, call the PSNI ‘Quick Check’ service on 101.
- Contact the company – If you have any doubts, contact the company to verify the caller’s identity. Genuine employees will not mind waiting.
- Do not feel pressured – If you are still not comfortable, do not let them in. Call someone such as a family member, neighbour or friend who can help. Call the police on 101 or if you feel threatened, dial 999.
David Keys, Customer Service Manager at NIE Networks, said: “At the moment our meter reading staff are not calling out to customer premises but some of our engineers may still need to call if emergency repairs for example need to be undertaken. Keeping our customers safe is very important to us, so if any customer is concerned about the identity of a visitor they can call the PSNI ‘Quick Check’ service on 101 to confirm a caller is genuine.
“Although meter readers will not be visiting customers for a while, customers can submit their own electricity meter reading to avoid an estimated bill. Customers will receive a reminder notification from NIE Networks or their supplier to tell them what to do when their meter reading is due.”
John French, Chief Executive of The Consumer Council, said: “There are legitimate door-to-door callers during COVID-19 calling at vulnerable consumers’ households delivering a range of essential services. Unfortunately, scammers will try to take advantage of this.
“The Consumer Council is part of the ScamwiseNI partnership. If you or someone else is in immediate danger or risk of harm, phone 999 immediately. If you think you have been targeted by a scammer you should contact Action Fraud 0300 123 2040.”
For further information on protecting yourself from scams, visit the ScamwiseNI webpage: www.nidirect.gov.uk/ScamwiseNI
Details on the PSNI's 'Quick Check' service are available here: https://www.psni.police.uk/advice_information/protecting-your-home/quick-check/