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6 tips to avoid falling victim to impersonators

Residents are advised that criminals are taking advantage of the fact that people are frustrated about the lack of service delivery so they accept help from those posing as council workers and allow them onto their properties.

CHARNEL Hattingh of Fidelity ADT Group is warning the public against the scourge of impersonators who will be upping their game as the general elections move closer.

“There are few opportunities that will escape a criminal mind. Impersonators are particularly good at jumping on the bandwagon when government or council initiatives are taking place, like the elections, national census or meter box replacement drives. While we are continually warning residents to be vigilant when a stranger wants access, this message must be reinforced as we move closer to the elections,” she says.

Charnel emphasises that criminals are well aware of how a lack of service delivery leaves citizens frustrated and vulnerable to accepting help because they are simply fed up with the current situation. She said: “Should, for example, your suburb have a prolonged water outage, you may find a ‘council worker’ at your gate offering to assist but needing access to your property to do so.”

She advises the public to be assured a stranger pitching up at the gate, posing as a council worker, has done this many times before and been successful. “This is because they will carry an ID badge, be dressed in some sort of uniform and be holding a clipboard and sometimes even a biometrics machine. They know how to talk the talk and with the official-looking garb they present, it is easy to be fooled into opening the gate,” said Charnel.

Elaborating on how residents can protect themselves, she said they can protect themselves against such imposters by keeping an eye on updates from their local security provider about crime trends in the neighbourhood.

Heed these tips provided by Charnel to avoid falling victim to impersonators:

  • Trust your gut. If something does not feel right, it probably is not. Alert your security company or the police to investigate, especially if the person takes off when you start probing them for more identification or a contact number for their manager.
  • Make it a rule that nobody on the property opens the gate to a stranger, no matter who they say they are. This is a very important message to relay to domestic staff.
  • Even if you are expecting a service provider or courier, verify their legitimacy before opening the gate.
  • Domestic staff should carry a remote panic button linked to an armed response service at all times and know what to do and who to contact in an emergency.
  • Report suspicious vehicles or people to your security company or the police.
  • Take note of alerts on community WhatsApp groups about crime trends in your area.

 

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