News

Man poses as Essential Energy worker to enter property

WHEN a man dressed in an Essential Energy shirt stopped at Southgate resident Peggy Downes' gate in a white van, she was wary.

Representatives of the electricity company had carried out work on her property the week before, using a master key to enter through the padlocked gate, and their vehicles didn't look much like the one before her.

When he jumped the side gate and approached her, red flags started to pop up.

"He tried to open it and realised he couldn't get through, so jumped the side fence and started walking up to the house," she said.

"I walked down to meet him and he said he was a contractor with Country Energy and had come to replace the power box at the next house over. Country Energy no longer exists so that was the second thing that made me click."

Ms Downes pressed him for identification and the man in crumpled black cargo pants and a pair of sandshoes replied it was in his car, before "sticking his finger up" at her and reversing down the road.

"When I posted it on the Clarence Valley Buy Swap Sell Facebook page, a lady said that guy was in her yard the other day, and so many people said that a person was trying to sell them a dodgy stereo in South Grafton the night before," she said.

Ms Downes said the incident had left her feeling rattled, and as she was unsure of his motives, could have ended up worse had she not been alert.

"I didn't sleep last night at all," she said.

"If I was someone else, god knows what could have happened."

Coffs/Clarence acting crime manager Inspector Peter O'Reilly said investigations into the matter, which took place at around 8.15am on Thursday, were ongoing and encouraged community members to phone police if something similar happened to them.

"It's a good reminder for the public to check credentials -whether it be someone showing up in person or over the phone, people need to be vigilant there's a lot of scammers out there," he said.

"We rely on the community to provide us with information."

Essential Energy North Coast regional manager Brendon Neyland said all Essential Energy representatives carried company identification documents that included the person's name and photograph, which customers can request to view at any time.

"Seeking confirmation of someone's identity provides customers' with a level of comfort that they are dealing with someone authorised to do the job," Mr Neyland said.

"We encourage customers to ask to see identification before allowing anyone to access their property. If the representative will not provide this, ask them to leave."

Topics:  editors picks, essential energy, grafton, scam




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Early morning car fire in Grafton

A car on fire in Fitzroy Street, Grafton on Saturday morning.

A car was destroyed by fire in Fitzroy Street early Saturday morning

OPINION: Impact of turbines on birds blown out of proportion

Scale of carnage pales in comparison to those killed by cats

Lawson hearing adjourned, Stewards investigate CCTV footage

Grafton races - Race 1 - Blackboard Special wins by seven lengths. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Steward's inquiry into Stella's Chance adjourned to future date.

Latest deals and offers

Grafton Public gets some fire training

Grafton Public School students got their hands wet when the local brigade as part...

Car fire in Grafton

A car was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Saturday morning in Fitzroy...

'Exploring The Clarence Valley - Buccarumbi & Dalmorton'

Snapshot of the Boyd River at Dalmorton from the 'Exploring The Clarence Valley' video series shot by Grafton photographer Jessica Robertson using drone footage.

'Exploring The Clarence Valley - Buccarumbi & Dalmorton' by Grafton photographer...

Perfect time to invest in Northern Rivers property

The Northern Rivers rental market is tighter than Sydney making it the perfect time for investors to get better returns out of property than superannuation or banks deposits.

Low interest rates and tight rental market are prime time to invest