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Home Hoaxes HOAX – ‘Men Claiming to be From Water Company Robbing Homes at Gunpoint’

HOAX – ‘Men Claiming to be From Water Company Robbing Homes at Gunpoint’

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Social media message warns users that a group of men are posing as water or electricity company workers to gain access to homes and then rob the householders at gunpoint.

Brief Analysis

The claims in the warning are untrue. The message is a mutated version of a fake warning that began circulating in Dubai back in 2012. Dubai police dismissed the warning as a baseless rumour. Sharing this false information will help nobody.

Example

Hay, 3 or 4 guys may visit your home claiming they are from water company, to install shower caps, to save water! They may claim they are from Eskom to change light bulbs for free! They have been spotted in several areas. Plz do NOT let them into your homes. They are Robbers robbing people at gun-point. Plz alert all your contacts, as you may save a life.

Make sure door is locked at all times. FWD (seen on another site)

Hoax Shower Caps Message

 

Detailed Analysis

Fake Warning Tells of Water and Electricity Company Robberies:

This false warning, which is circulating via email, SMS, and social media, claims that ‘3 or 4 guys’ are robbing householders at gunpoint by pretending to be water or electricity company workers. Once they gain access, claims the message, the men rob the householders at gunpoint.

There are no credible reports about robberies like the ones described in the warning.

‘Warning’ Originated in Dubai:

The message first began circulating in Dubai back in 2012. The original version claimed that the criminals were posing as Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) or Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) workers. The message also mentioned Eskom, a South African based electricity supplier.

The Dubai version appeared to be signed by a DEWA employee and included the company logo and Government of Dubai seal.

Police and Company Dismissed the Rumour as Untrue:

However, police in Dubai dismissed the warning as a baseless rumour. A September 2012 GulfNews.com article noted:

Police are warning residents not to believe spam messages that have been posted over social networking sites claiming that employees from the electricity and water authority are robbing people’s homes at gunpoint.
[…]
Lt Col Ahmad Humaid Al Marri, Director of the Criminal Investigations Division at Dubai Police, confirmed to Gulf News that the message is merely a rumour and is baseless.

‘Residents should not panic and no robberies of this nature have taken place anywhere in Dubai. None of these alleged crimes have been reported to police and we urge people not to cause panic among the community and spread such malicious rumours,’ said Lt Col Al Marri.

DEWA also dismissed the story as false. The message did not come from DEWA or the other companies mentioned and a DEWA employee did not sign it.

New Version Changes Details But is Still False:

The newer variant of the hoax omits references to DEWA and SEWA and just refers rather vaguely to an unidentified water company. It still mentions Eskom, but the DEWA signature and logo, and the government seal have been removed.

Despite the changes, the new version of the message is just as false as the old.

Sharing This False Message Will Help Nobody:

Unfortunately, many false and misleading warnings circulate online. These messages can:

  • Cause unnecessary fear and alarm in communities
  • Waste the time of police who must answer endless queries about the messages from concerned members of the public
  • Make it less likely that people will heed genuine warnings.

If you receive one of these bogus warnings, please do not share it.

While This is a Hoax, Caution is Still Required:

Of course, while this particular warning is false, criminals have indeed posed as maintenance workers as a means of accessing households. Before admitting people claiming to be from your water, energy or telecommunications provider, you should ensure that they are legitimate. Such staff will generally wear a company uniform and be able to produce company ID.

If in doubt, you should call the company to check before letting workers in.



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer