By Orville Williams
APUA is urging customers to exercise greater caution following recent reports of incidents of fraud.
In a release on Tuesday, the utility company warned the public that impersonators are attempting to access properties under the pretence that they intend to read meters on APUA’s behalf.
Yesterday, APUA’s PRO Sharifa George told Observer that the occurrences came to light following reports from cautious customers.
“There are a couple of distinct instances [where] we realised that there were impersonators going around, claiming to be reading the meters of customers. The most recent one was when a customer reported to an APUA employee that someone – claiming to be coming to read the meter – [visited the property] in a white shirt and short, black pants with writing material.
“They asked to access the property [and] they were granted entry. The customer realised that the person did not appear to be an APUA worker. He did not have a uniform, he did not have an ID and so [the customer] insisted that the person leave the property, which he did,” she explained.
“There was another occurrence, where someone received an estimated bill during the lockdown period, but they said this should not be the case, because their meter was read. [The customer] allowed access to their property to two gentlemen, who said they were doing readings and [yet] the bill was still estimated.
“So, we realised that persons are [indeed] claiming to be reading meters on behalf of APUA to gain access to properties and the concern really is that these are two reports that were made to APUA because persons realised this abnormality.
“These persons might have entered other properties under the guise of being APUA workers and we don’t have a figure of that,” George added.
She implored customers to be aware of the unique identifiers for APUA employees.
The intention really is to raise awareness about the impersonators and to remind customers that AUPA workers are always identifiable with their branded uniforms.
“In the case of meter readers, they are wearing an orange uniform shirt, sometimes it will be a polo shirt, and they will always have their APUA-issued ID on them,” she said. “All meter readers are full-time members of staff; we do not subcontract meter reading to anyone.”
George also stated, while they cannot explicitly say why their employees are being impersonated, “our appeal is for customers to not engage or oblige these persons and to not allow access to their properties to these persons. You do not know what their intentions are, and if it is the case where they are impersonating APUA workers, [you] can’t imagine that their intentions are good.”