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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE05-11

April 7, 2005

Contact: Charles G. Sturcken (718) 595-6600

DEP Issues Warning to Homeowners in the Bedford Stuyvesant Section of Brooklyn to Beware Of Imposters Posing As “Water Department” Employees

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has learned that an individual posing as a water department inspector gained access to a home in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, claiming the homeowner was in arrears in water bill payments. A young man knocked on the door of the elderly resident and said he needed access to the basement to “turn off the water.” He was allowed entry and subsequently accepted a large amount of money in payment from the homeowner to avoid disrupting her water service.

“Allowing unknown individuals into your home can have serious consequences,” said Commissioner Emily Lloyd. Any persons who identify themselves as being from DEP or the water department, must either have made a previous appointment, which you can confirm with DEP, or be able to provide correct documentation. DEP employees who are authorized to enter homes must carry and show photo I.D. cards and badges. Since impostors or others seeking access may have some form of identification, it is important to make sure that the I.D. card is from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.”

IMORTANT FACTS FOR HOMEOWNERS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM IMPOSTERS WHO CLAIM THEY NEED TO INSPECT WATER QUALITY, WATER METERS OR PLUMBING EQUIPMENT

  • Most water meters are read remotely from outside the home. DEP water use inspectors, however, may seek access without appointments for certain assignments, such as meter reading (if there is no remote or it does not work) and inspecting installations or repairs performed by DEP contractors.

  • DEP water use inspectors wear uniforms and carry photo I.D. cards. Con Edison workers, who read water meters for DEP in all five boroughs, also wear uniforms and carry identification.

  • Contractors installing water meters usually, but not always, make appointments in advance, wear uniforms, carry photo I.D cards, and drive trucks bearing company identification.

  • DEP air and noise inspectors and water quality investigators do not wear uniforms, but they must carry and present photo I.D. cards and DEP inspector badges. When doing tests in buildings and homes at the request of citizens, they normally make appointments in advance.

  • DEP employees who respond to emergency situations, such as hazardous material spills or leaks in water and sewer systems may need to gain access to buildings or homes to determine the source of a leak. They do not wear uniforms, but must carry and present photo I.D. cards whenever requesting access to a residence or building.

  • No DEP employee is ever authorized to ask for cash money to perform any service or for payment of past due bills.

IF CITIZENS BELIEVE THAT PERSONS ARE MISREPRESENTING THEMSELVES AS DEP EMPLOYEES, THEY SHOULD PHONE THE LOCAL POLICE PRECINCT OR 311.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT THE DEP WEBSITE AT WWW.NYC.GOV/DEP.

 

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600