Utility Worker Scams

The Tustin Police Department is warning Tustin residents to be on guard for burglary suspects posing as utility workers, due to a recent surge in these kinds of incidents.

Understanding the Scam

Typically, the burglar contacts unsuspecting residents and tells them that he or she is with a utility company, and the company will be doing work in their back yard. The suspect then convinces the resident to accompany him or her to the back yard in order to explain the work being conducted. While the victim is with the suspect in the backyard, a second suspect enters the residence and ransacks it, stealing cash, jewelry, and other items that can be easily removed from the residence. By the time the homeowner returns to the residence and discovers the crime, both suspects are usually long gone.

Protect Yourself

The Tustin Police Department reminds residents to be aware of these kinds of ploys and always ask for identification from the worker. If you do feel the need to accompany the worker, make sure to secure your residence by locking the doors. Additionally, keep in mind this information:

  • City of Tustin employees carry identification, as do employees from the utility companies. When in doubt, advise the workers that you are going to call to verify they are who they say they are.
  • Southern California Gas media relations advise that all employees carry proper photo identification when called out to any job, and most employees will have uniforms with So Cal Gas logos imprinted on them. Customer safety is always a priority and workers will be happy to wait while the customer confirms their identity. This can be done by calling 800-427-2200 or 800-342-4545 for Spanish.
  • Southern California Edison (SCE) media relations advise that most visits by SCE employees will be regularly scheduled or requested by the customer. Be suspicious if someone shows up without an appointment asking to check appliances or wiring, or suggesting other electrical problems in your home or on your property. If you believe the person may be an impostor, report it to the Tustin Police Department and call SCE immediately at 800-655-4555.
  • By working together to alert the community, we can reduce the number of these incidents in our community and make Tustin a safer place to live. If you feel you may have an impostor at your door, do not hesitate to call the police.