The message seems like common sense: don't tell strangers, even in uniforms, personal details without proper identification, and never tell them about when you will or won't be home, without verifying their authenticity. If they bolt upon you wanting to call the number on the identity tag they ought to be wearing, case closed. A real worker will be happy to wait the 5 minutes that might take.
Read on, from the city's announcement:
The Long Beach Gas and Oil (LBGO) Department is alerting residents about recent reports of persons falsely representing themselves as utility workers, claiming that gas meter needs to be replaced and inquiring when the resident will be out of the home.
In this scam, the bogus workers are apparently targeting homes to burglarize when no one is expected to be home.
The following information is provided to allow residents to confirm that they are interacting with LBGO employees:
Long Beach Gas and Oil (LBGO) routinely performs gas meter exchanges throughout the cities of Long Beach and Signal Hill. For all meter work, customer contact is made either in person by a uniformed LBGO employee or through an LBGO form that is left in a prominent location on the property. The form provides a contact number to inquire about the work scheduled or to reschedule the work at a more convenient time.
Any LBGO employee who makes contact with a resident for any type of meter work or inspection will be identifiable by their LBGO uniform and is required, upon request, to show a City-issued identification card. If the resident has any doubts, they may call the LBGO emergency line at 562.570.2140 at any time (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) to verify the legitimacy of the meter exchange and the employee.
Residents are advised to keep gates to backyards locked and secure at all times, and to immediately report suspicious activity, including loiterers, by calling 9-1-1 with a suspect description.