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Officials warn of bogus utility workers

Couple's home was recently burglarized by impostors, officials say.

March 01, 2013|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

Utility officials in Glendale and Burbank are warning residents of recent incidents in which men have posed as city workers in an attempt to gain access and burglarize homes.

City officials advised customers that a man posing as a utility worker spoke to a couple about installing power lines in their backyard. The man, who was carrying a tape measure, asked the couple to enter their backyard so he could demonstrate his work.

As the man talked to the couple, a second man burglarized their home.

Officials also reported that customers received phone calls from fake contractors who offered bogus utility incentive programs.

Customers in Glendale have received phone calls from impersonators in the past. The customers were asked to pay outstanding bills while on the phone or their water or power would be shut off.

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“Our customers should never feel embarrassed or feel a sense of urgency or pressure to provide personal information, or be coerced into signing up for incentives,” Glendale Water & Power General Manager Stephen Zurn said in a statement.

The following list includes safety tips for utility customers.

Utility workers always show their identification, which includes a photo.

Workers can also provide an office phone number, and they never plead for enrollment in incentive programs.

Glendale utility employees never call customers for payment information.

They give advance notice before any visit. Workers rarely need to enter a customer's home.

Customers with questions and concerns are encouraged to call Burbank Water and Power at (818) 238-3700 or Glendale Water & Power at (818) 548-3300.

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Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.

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