Another Sunset family falls prey to utility worker scam 

Another family has been conned by crooks portraying themselves as utility workers, police said. The latest incident occurred at a home near Stern Grove in the Sunset, where many previous similar scams happened.

A man who appeared to be in his 30s went to a residence in the 2600 block of 19th Avenue about 4:45 p.m. Monday. He said he was a PG&E worker and that he wanted to check the property for possibly damaged sewage pipes, police said.

The suspect brought the family — two women, aged 84 and 53, and a 25-year-old man — to the backyard, police said. The crook then went back inside and let two other suspects into the house. He then went back to the backyard to distract the family.

The crooks cleaned out the house of an undisclosed amount of cash and then fled in a white truck.

There have been several instances of burglars disguising themselves as utility workers and gaining access to resident's homes to steal cash and valuables, with quite a few happening off the 19th Avenue corridor in the Sunset.

Both the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and PG&E have sent out several warnings to be wary of those who identify themselves as utility workers and show up without an appointment.

All utility workers are required to have and show official IDs of the agency they work for or represent. They never show up without calling or having made an appointment, and they will drive official vehicles.

Residents are advised to follow these safety tips:

- SFPUC workers will always have an official identification badge containing the agency and city logo.

- SFPUC workers usually arrive to a location in either a department vehicle with green striping and The City’s seal or a plain white city vehicle also with The City’s seal and an identification number.

- SFPUC workers never show up at a home or business without an appointment.

- SFPUC workers will never ask for money.

- Most SFPUC projects take place on streets and sidewalks and other public right-of-ways and are publicly announced in advance.

- If something does not seem right, trust your instincts. You have the right to refuse entry to any individual. And if you feel threatened, call 911. For more information, visit www.sfwater.org or www.sf-police.org.

PG&E said their workers will always identify themselves and will usually schedule an appointment before arriving to a home. They recommend following these steps if something seems suspicious:

- Customers should always ask to see identification before allowing anyone claiming to be a PG&E representative inside their home. PG&E employees always carry their identification and are willing to show it to you.

- If a person claiming to be a PG&E employee has identification and you still feel uncomfortable, call PG&E’s customer service line at (800) 743-5000 to verify an appointment and/or PG&E’s presence in your area.  If you feel threatened in any way, notify local law enforcement immediately.

- Customers who have an appointment with PG&E will receive an automated call back within 48 hours prior to a scheduled visit, or a personal call from a PG&E gas service representative prior to a scheduled visit.

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