A Bay Area snake scam has slithered into Roseville

Beware of burglars posing as city or other utility workers

A snake scam that started in the Bay Area reared its ugly head in Roseville. On Labor Day, burglars posing as animal control officers visited at least two neighborhoods.  Their M.O. is to knock on residents' doors and ask to check the property for poisonous snakes.  While the homeowner is busy with the "worker" in the back yard, an accomplice burglarizes the home.

According to an August 28 article in the San Jose Mercury News, burglar/scam artists hit six Bay Area cities from August 20-27. They wore uniforms or logo shirts that made them look like city or PG&E workers, and often targeted elderly residents.  They knocked on residents' doors and told them they needed access to the back yard to trim a neighbor's tree, or to check for an infestation of poisonous snakes.  While the resident took the "worker" to the back yard, an unseen accomplice entered the house through the unlocked front door and stole cash, jewelry and other small items of value.

It's highly unusual for city or other utility workers to make unsolicited visits without advance notice, especially on a weekend or holiday.  If anyone claiming to be a government or utility worker comes to your door, and you haven't reported a problem or requested service, be very suspicious.  Close and lock your door (or better yet, don't open the door to strangers in the first place), and then call the utility company or city department at their main published telephone number.  Don't call a telephone number provided by the "worker", as your call may be answered by an accomplice. 

If you have any doubts at all, call police immediately and ask for an officer to check the "worker" out.  Give the dispatcher a good description of the suspicious person, including a description of any associated vehicle and license plate number if possible.

If you live in Roseville and received an unsolicited visit from a so-called city worker checking for snakes (or any other pretext) over the past weekend, we'd like to know about it.  Please call our dispatch center at (916)774-5000 extension 1.