WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange Police Department is advising residents to be on the lookout for scammers posing as public utility or construction workers after a recent incident, according to a July 11 press release from the township. The release did not go into details about the recent incident, which occurred on July 5.
The incident is one in a trend of “diversion burglaries” taking place across New Jersey, where individuals might pretend to be water or electric company employees to gain access to homes, causing a distraction while an accomplice enters the property and commits a theft.
Most of the burglaries are targeting elderly homeowners. Police in surrounding towns also have reported similar incidents.
West Orange police suggest following these tips to prevent distraction or diversion burglaries:
- Do not let anyone into your house — including those claiming to be a professional of any type — that you did not call or invite.
- Ask for identification. Often times, this is all that is needed for the suspect to stop their attempt. Check identification carefully.
- Confirm the identity and purpose of the worker with the company they claim to work for by calling a number listed in the phone book or that you have listed on your bill.
- If someone comes to your house asking to come inside for aid or assistance, tell them to remain outside while you call the police for help.
If you feel something is suspicious, call 9-1-1 or West Orange police at 973-325-4000.