Apparent scammers posing as City electricity officials to gain access to residents’ homes have been flagged by the City of Cape Town. Criminals dressed in municipal clothing, carrying some form of identification are operating by visiting residents at their homes and insisting they open the front door so that electricity infrastructure, including the meter, can be checked. While one scammer distracts the resident, the other steals small, personal items.
It appears that elderly residents are being targeted especially.
“The City does not have members of staff going door-to-door to check on infrastructure without an appointment. The City does check on electricity meters every so often but must make an appointment with the resident,” said Phindile Maxiti, the City’s Mayco Member for Energy and Climate Change. “All municipal workers and contractors must carry a work order number specific to that dwelling and a City-issued identification card. Residents should ask to check the official identification card before allowing anyone onto their property. The identification card must display the City logo, the name and surname of the staff member or mandated contractor, and must contain an embedded photo of the staff member or mandated contractor. Residents are not to allow anyone onto their premises until they have verified these details. Our residents should always be vigilant in these cases.”
A free electricity meter replacement programme is currently being rolled out by the City across the metro. The City does mailbox drops and targeted marketing of any planned work to be carried out in the area. Each meter replacement has a notification number on the City’s internal system, which the City’s Call Centre can verify should a resident enquire. Residents can also make an appointment for their meter to be changed at a time which suits them.
Any suspicious behaviour must be reported to the City’s law enforcement agencies or the City’s Fraud Hotline on 0800 323 130 or to the South African Police Service.
Members of the public can verify whether visitors to their home are in fact employed by the City by:
– phoning the Call Centre on 0860 103 089 to confirm whether work is being carried out in their area
– informing the official that they will allow them entry only once the Call Centre has verified their identity