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Police warn of scammer targeting elderly

Published On: Feb 19 2013 09:45:11 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 20 2013 07:54:43 AM CST
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

Bethlehem police say an elderly woman, who also suffers from dementia, was robbed after letting a man who posed as a utility worker enter her home.

It happened Saturday in the 2100 block of Livingston Street in Bethlehem.

Police say a white male posing as a water company employee entered the home of an elderly woman and made her stay in the kitchen as he went through the rest of her home.

He ended up stealing a safe from her bedroom closet.

It's a scenario Melinda Stumpf with PPL says happens all too often. "There should always be a purpose for the visit and you should know that prior to us entering your home or coming to your home," she said.

Stumpf says there are three questions one should always ask to verify if the worker visiting your home is legit.

  • Do they have a scheduled appointment?
  • Do they have a photo ID showing their name along with the company they claim to be working for?
  • Are they driving a marked vehicle?

Neighbors on Livingston Street added it's not just a door-to-door scam they're worried about.

Joe Gerenscer said his wife got a strange phone call just a few weeks ago.

β€œHe had told my wife that he did talk to me and it was all right for him to come over and check for a gas leak,” said Gerenscer.

Turns out the man was lying and Gerenscer warned his wife to not let anyone inside. "In this neighborhood there's a lot of older people around here so I think he was trying to call and see who he could actually scam,” he said.

Experts advise if you see anything suspicious or have someone knock on your door unsolicited to call the police or the company they claim to be with.