Monday 22 January 2018

Public asked to be vigilant against bogus 'ESB' man casing homes

Gardaí are asking homeowners to report suspicious activity
Gardaí are asking homeowners to report suspicious activity

David Kearns

Gardaí are on the hunt for a bogus 'ESB' worker going door-to-door in Donegal, in what is thought to be part of a wider scam to break into houses.

Arriving in a yellow makeshift ESB van, the conmen has been calling into homes across the county asking to check their circuit boards.

Once inside, the man quizzes the householders on when they will be in so that ‘repairs’ can be carried out.

It is believed the bogus ESB worker has been operating across many different areas on Donegal, and was most recently spotted in the Carrick area of Castlefin.

According to local reports, the conman recently fled one property after he was asked to show his ID.

Gardaí have warned people to ask for ID if any suspicious-looking workmen, claiming to be part of a local authority or company, calls to their homes.

They say householders should be wary of admitting anyone if they are not satisfied with who they are. 

“A legitimate workman will have absolutely no problem showing you their ID,” said a Garda spokesperson.

“If you are suspicious of someone then we would ask that you take details of the vehicle and pass them on so we can investigate.”

Speaking to, a spokesperson for ESB Networks said all their staff were required to carry ESB identification.

"We recommend that if anyone encounters someone claiming to work for or to represent ESB that they should ask them to produce their ESB ID card. If they remain in any doubt about their identity, they should contact the Gardaí."

The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) has previously issued warnings about bogus utility callers.

Last March, many electricity customers were warned about a phone scam which sought to get their card numbers.

Energy customers were told that their account was due for payment and a credit card payment was needed to prevent disconnection.

In other cases, the caller said a meter exchange programme was being undertaken, for which the customer must pay, and again requested credit card details.

The caller claimed to represents ESB Networks and would often leave behind a mobile number that, if called, would cost the homeowner premium rates.

The CER said at the time that disconnection notices are only issued in writing, and must provide at least 10 working days' notice for domestic customers and five working days' notice for business customers.

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