Be Careful of Alarm Salesman and Denver Water Employee Imposters

July 15, 2009

Your Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be extremely cautious when answering the door this summer. Traveling alarm system salespersons always show up this time of year and we’ve received an alert from the Denver District Attorney’s office to beware of thieves posing as Denver Water employees.

“Every summer alarm salesmen hit the pavement and every summer BBB receives calls and complaints from consumers who feel they may be getting ripped off,” said Dale Mingilton, President & CEO of BBB serving Denver/Boulder. “Even if the salesperson claims it’s a limited offer and they must act now, consumers must always stop and do their research before purchasing any products or services.”

Regarding Denver Water imposters, the DA reports that a Denver Water employee imposter approached a home and told the homeowner that he needed to enter to conduct a random water quality check. Luckily the homeowner did not let the person in. The DA warns that in the past, persons claiming to be utility companies’ contractors and employees have gained access to customers’ homes on the pretext of checking water pressure, water quality, telephone lines, gas and electric issues. After entering the home, they look for cash and valuables. Some have asked for direct payment for the “service call” from the homeowners.

BBB offers the following advice for consumers on dealing with people showing up at your doorstep:

· Note that Denver Water does not conduct random water pressure or quality checks. All Denver Water employees carry photo-identification cards. Service personnel wear shirts, jackets or caps, and drive vehicles clearly marked with Denver Water’s logo.

· If you are approached by such suspicious individuals, call the police and Denver Water Customer Care at 303-893-2444.

· Excel Energy, on rare occasions, may require access in order to read an older gas meter located inside the home. Contractors and employees of Excel will have properly labeled vehicles and identification. To verify that an Excel representative is working in your area, you can call 1-800-895-4999.

· If it is a company offering to sell you an alarm or any other product, deal only with reputable firms and check out the company at your BBB’s Web site,

· Don’t be pressured into buying something you don’t want or need. A reputable company will let you check out the offer and compare bids from several installers.

· Some companies will offer a “free” alarm system. While the equipment and installation may be free (make sure this is in writing), there is a monthly monitoring fee. When you compare costs, make sure you compare all the costs.

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