Phoney officials preying on the elderly, say police

Criminals are posing as municipal employees to get into people’s homes, warn the police.

An elderly Brackenfell man was robbed recently by one such phoney official, and there have been other cases in Brackenfell since the start of the year, according to police spokeswoman Captain Erica Crous

Mayoral committee member for energy Beverly van Reenen said the ploy was used across the City and clearly targeted the elderly.

Captain Crous said a well-dressed man, who spoke in Afrikaans, had knocked on the door of the 84-year-old Springbok Park man’s home last week, telling him that he was checking electrical fittings.

“He also provided a City identity card which looked very authentic,” Captain Crous said.

The man went from room to room, and after he left, the pensioner noticed that his cellphone and wallet were gone.

In January, a man in blue overall pants and a light-blue shirt and carrying what appeared to be a City ID got into another Brackenfell resident’s home and took cellphones, said Captain Crous.

“Although both victims … were very cautious, the suspect managed to convince them. Always trust that first instinct,” Captain Crous said.

Police had also received a report about a man posing as an Eskom employee, she said.

Ms Van Reenen said residents should be vigilant and report suspicious behaviour to the authorities.

“Often, their apparent approach is to carry out a survey or to check your electricity meter.”

Residents could phone the City call centre at 0860 103 089 to confirm whether work was being done in their area, and they should try to photograph anyone who came to the door claiming to be an official, she said.