CLIFTON — An elderly woman who believed a representative from PSE&G had come to her house found herself the victim of a burglary.

On Sept. 8, an 87-year-old woman reported that a man with a "metal" badge came to her door claiming to work for the utility. The man claimed he was there to check the water supply and asked the woman if he could come into the house, police said. Police said that the woman "became uneasy about the situation" and told that to the man, who then left the house a few minutes later.

"Emergencies aside, utility companies generally do not go to residences unannounced," police said. "Additionally, being informed by someone that the 'water needs to be checked' is a major red flag and should prompt a call to 911."

After the man left, the woman called PSE&G, which confirmed they had no employees inn the area. The woman then noticed someone had gone through her bedroom drawers and had taken cash and jewelry. Police determined that while the man distracted the woman, another suspect walked in through the front door.

"Unfortunately, this is all too common of an occurrence," the department said. "These individuals prey on the elderly in order to perpetrate their crimes. They are fast talking and personable, which oftentimes both confuses the victim and causes them to drop their guard."

The police department urged all residents to not let people into their homes that they do not know. If a stranger identifies themselves as working for a utility or another company, residents should contact the company first before allowing them into their home. Residents can also call 911 and report the people to police to ensure they are legitimate employees of the company.

Relatives of the elderly are also encouraged by police to make sure their relatives know about the scam so they do not become victims themselves. Anyone with questions can call the department at 973-470-5908.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to correct that the fake workers claimed to be with PSE&G.

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