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Local Utility Companies Join Forces To Warn Customers Of Imposter Scams

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Utility companies are banding together to raise awareness and offer tips to protect their customers after scam artists ripped off an elderly couple in Beechview, stealing money and jewelry.

Pennsylvania American Water showed exactly what one of their workers would look like in-uniform and the kind of vehicle they would drive.

Men posing as water company workers robbed the elderly couple earlier this week. It happened in the territory Penn American serves.

"Look for a logoed uniform," said Penn American's Gary Lobough. "Look for a logoed vehicle."

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority echoed those thoughts.

"A PWSA employee will never enter your home without you making an appointment prior to them showing up," said Melissa Rubin.

The reality is sometimes it all happens so quickly, customers don't have time to react.

Next week, local utilities, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, will begin a media campaign to focus on the threat.

One of the public service announcements depicts an Elvis impersonator who says, "Some impersonators are easy to spot. Others, like this guy here pretending to be a utility worker, are not."

The commercial also reminds consumers that without proper identification, customers have the right to refuse entry.

"You tell 'em no thank you, no thank you very much," says the Elvis character, "until you get a look at their company issued photo ID."

Pennsylvania State Police have issued a community awareness bulletin about similar scams just this week. To read the full release, click here.

Some of their tips include:
• Always lock your doors when doing yard work, getting mail, or anytime you go outside - both front and back doors.
• Be careful who you let in your home. Never allow strangers inside your home, even if they appear to be in distress or with a young child.
• Check with your utility company by telephone if an employee requests to enter your home or wants you to come outside with them.
• Beware of unsolicited home repairmen.
• Be suspicious of high pressure sales tactics.
• Be certain the work is completed to your satisfaction before you make final payment.
• Write down the license plate number of any vehicles suspicious individuals may be operating. Try to obtain a good physical description of anyone who comes to your door.

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