Palm Coast, FL - It is important to know who you are letting into your home, even if they seem legitimate.
According to a report from the Flagler County Sheriff's Office obtained by News Daytona Beach, an 81-year-old woman was visited by a man who claimed he worked for the "water department." The man – described as a Hispanic male, 5'4" in his late to early 30's – told the woman that there was an issue with the water main in the area and there are eight other people with no water.
The woman told the man that she had water, but he still asked if he could come in and "test" the water in her home, so she allowed him in.
The subject told her that he had put blue dye in the water main outside the residence and he needed to see if the dye was coming out of any faucets. So, he went into each bathroom and turned on the sinks and showers.
According to her narrative, she felt that something was off about the subject so she kept an eye on him as he went through the house. She also stated that the man asked if her dog was friendly, but she said it can be aggressive if need be.
While in the home, the man apparently talked to someone else on a radio, but she couldn't make out what he was saying. He also wore a lanyard with an ID, but the woman could not see what it said.
After he was finished going through the house, he asked the woman to watch the water in the kitchen for one minute to see if any dye was coming out. He advised her that he was going to step outside for a moment and come back. Once a minute had passed, she noticed that the subject was nowhere to be seen.
Following the incident, the woman called the City of Palm Coast and asked if they sent someone to test her water. The worker advised the woman that they did not send any technician out to her address and there were no present issues in the area. That's when they advised her to call law enforcement.
Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly talked to News Daytona Beach about the incident and said that, unfortunately, this is actually a common type of scam people try to pull.
"They go into homes, distract the homeowner claiming that they're somebody else while their accomplice or themselves steal from them," said Staly. "We always encourage our residents to never let a stranger into their homes."
If you’re not sure about who’s at your door and they claim to be from a utility department or the government, Sheriff Staly says the first thing you should do is don’t let them in, lock your door and call the company or agency to verify who is on your property. There’s no harm in being too careful.
"Call the utility company, call the county or call the city," said Staly. "Verify who they are."
While the woman in the aforementioned incident let the suspect inside, Staly said she did the right thing by following him around the house and by calling the City of Palm Coast to see if someone was supposed to be there. But, it's still recommended that residents do not let someone in without calling their agency/company first.
Another important tip to remember is to look for uniforms and whether or not they have an ID.
"Government workers will have an ID, ask to see that. They also wear some type of uniform."
If you feel that you or someone you know may have fallen victim to an incident like this contact law enforcement immediately.