New campaign to raise awareness about criminals imitating utility workers
The Keystone Alliance to Stop Utility Imposters has joined forces with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association to launch a public awareness campaign about criminals impersonating utility workers.
June 1, 2015 -- Today, the Keystone Alliance to Stop Utility Imposters (KASUI), a coalition of local water, gas and electric utilities, announced that it has joined forces with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association to launch a public awareness campaign about criminals impersonating utility workers to gain access and rob homeowners.
Across Pennsylvania, thieves have gained access to residents' homes by posing as utility workers. Once inside the home, the imposters typically divert the resident's attention by sending him/her to another floor while they or an accomplice robs the home. The KASUI was formed to educate consumers on how to protect themselves via a new public awareness campaign with print, broadcast and online media advertisements.
Members of the KASUI joined State Representative Mike Regan (R-York) at a Capitol Rotunda news conference to announce House Resolution 341, declaring the week of June 8-12 as "Utility Imposter Awareness Week" in Pennsylvania. The Alliance unveiled its media campaign aimed at informing consumers about the illicit practices of utility imposters. For example, its ads inform customers that impersonators are not easy to recognize. Homeowners are advised that before letting any worker into their house to always check for a company-issued photo ID.
The coalition's campaign materials were designed by Meinert/Mashek, a Pittsburgh-based agency. In addition to television and radio public service announcements, the member utilities will distribute the newly created communications tools among their customers to raise awareness. Christopher Cardenas, PPL Electric Utilities' customer services vice president, noted that the resolution also should serve to highlight the issue of phone scams. In those cases, thieves target customers with a false claim that the customer is behind on their bill and will have service shut off if an immediate payment is not made with a pre-paid debit card.