Here at the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office, we recently received a report of a man who portrayed himself as a utility worker and convinced someone to let him into their house. Once inside he “checked” the home’s outlets and actually did a small repair. However, after distracting the homeowner, he took a piece of jewelry, which wasn’t noticed until after he left.

We issued an alert and although we haven’t received any additional reports about this suspect and his scam, I want to continue and emphasize the need for people to be cautious.

Whether you are expecting a utility worker or not, you should always ask for identification and check to see that they are in a marked vehicle. If you have any doubts, call the utility company to verify it is their worker and what they are doing.

The same applies for repairmen. If you made the call, make sure the person on your doorstep is the one you were expecting. Be especially wary if strangers show up unannounced and say they are supposed to make a repair or they want to handle a project for you. The ones who say they were working on a nearby project and have leftover materials are typically up to no good.

There is no such thing as getting something for nothing and if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. The bottom line is this: Don’t let your desire to save money on a repair end up costing you hundreds, if not thousands, of your hard earned dollars.

We in law enforcement have very few, if any, ways to locate and bring these thieves to justice once they’ve committed their crimes and moved on in search of their next victim.

With more and more scams being launched at the public, much of it is on you to remain vigilant and not fall prey. In particular, keep an eye out for elderly parents, relatives and friends. Many of them are quite trusting. They also may have lost some of the skills that once kept them safe.

The Ellis County Sheriff’s Office’s Crime Prevention Division is here to assist people who want to join together and form a Neighborhood Crime Watch. Contact our Deputies at 972-825-4901.

Besides sending releases and alerts to the local media for publication, we also utilize Facebook and the Internet to get information to you, the public. We invite you to “like” our Facebook page, which can be found at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ellis-County-Sheriffs-Office/190081201037757?ref=ts&fref=ts; our agency’s website is located online at www.elliscountysheriff.com.

Johnny Brown has served as Sheriff of Ellis County since Jan. 1, 2009, and is a graduate of the National Sheriff’s Institute. He has been in law enforcement for 20 years and holds a Master’s Peace Officer’s Certificate with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.